SANTA CLARA — Patrick Willis has only missed four games in his 49ers career and he doesn't plan on making it five come Sunday's season opener.

A month after breaking his right hand in a training-camp drill, Willis intends to play against the Green Bay Packers, whom the 49ers beat to start both the 2012 regular season and the ensuing playoffs.

"They say it takes eight weeks for a bone to heal great, and this will be five weeks since my surgery and the doctor says it looks good," Willis said Wednesday.

Willis did not play any exhibition games because of his injury, although he has experience on that front. He's previously played three times with a cast on that right hand, dating back to his college days at Mississippi. This fracture didn't come in the same spot as a previous one.

The last time Willis returned from an injury — a three-game, hamstring-induced hiatus late in the 2011 season — he admitted considerable rust in a win at St. Louis.

"I really feel if I'm on the field, I can't let it affect my play. No excuses," Willis said.

This most recent break may require him to wear a cast, although "hopefully it could be nothing," Willis said.

The injury occurred during a one-on-one blocking drill with fullback Bruce Miller and Willis said he initially tried to absorb the pain. "But I knew something wasn't right."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.



San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis takes the field before the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. on
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis takes the field before the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2013. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)