The ascension of rookie running back Tim Hightower into the starting lineup last week was not…
Key Matchups: 49ers @ Cardinals
Cardinals SS Adrian Wilson vs. 49ers RB Frank Gore: Wilson is coming off his best game of the season. It's no coincidence the Cardinals used him more near the line of scrimmage than they had for much of the season. Gore is great at breaking tackles in the open field, and Wilson is a sure tackler. It's strength against strength.
Cardinals OLB Travis LaBoy vs. 49ers RT Barry Sims: LaBoy had two sacks against the 49ers in the season-opening victory, and that's when starter Jonas Jennings was healthy.
--LT Mike Gandy is expected to play despite suffering a sprained right ankle last week against the Rams. The extra day of rest as a result of the Monday night game is a benefit.
--TE Ben Patrick has missed the past three games with a right knee sprain but coaches are hopeful he'll be able to return this week.
--TE Leonard Pope is coping with a sore foot/ankle and has been wearing a walking boot for the past two weeks. He has missed two games, and it's questionable if he will return this week.
--ILB Ali Highsmith suffered at torn ACL in his right knee last week against the Rams and has been placed on injured reserve. Highsmith, a rookie, is an excellent special teams player and will be missed.
--OLB/DE Travis LaBoy likely will be questionable with a groin injury. LaBoy suffered the injury against Dallas and missed last week's game against the Rams. His backup, Bertrand Berry, is healthy and is an excellent pass rusher.
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