Don't expect to see Webster vs. Giants
January 03, 2003
By Craig Massei

A crutch under his right shoulder and a bundle of bandages on his left ankle, Jason Webster limped gingerly into the press room at 49ers headquarters Thursday, looking very much like a cornerback who won't be ready to participate in a playoff game Sunday against the New York Giants. And then sounding very much like one.

"I haven't done any kind of running or anything like that and I probably won't practice this week," said Webster, who indicated he probably wouldn't test the ankle until the morning before Sunday's game.

Webster, who twisted his ankle awkwardly when he stepped on receiver Isaac Bruce's foot late in Monday's loss at St. Louis, then attempted to look at the bright side of his injury situation.

"I look at it like this: There's hope all the way up to kickoff," Webster said. "Honestly, it's getting better every day. A lot of swelling has gone down. If I feel like I can help the team, I'll be willing to play."

But the third-year starter at right cornerback acknowledged that it did not look good for his return against the Giants. There still is swelling in the ankle, and a cornerback's wheels must be close to 100 percent if he is to be effective.

"If I know I can't help this team at 80 percent or 90 percent, I wont play," Webster said. "But if I'm able to run and cut, I feel like that's 100 percent. Now, it's hard to tell because I haven't done any running or anything like that. I'd rather not say what percentage I'm at right now until I actually try to run, or make some cuts."

Coach Steve Mariucci gave no indication that he is counting on Webster to play. That would be a blow for the Niners, who have been struggling in the secondary since early in the season.

"We do see some improvement, but he hasn't been on the practice field yet," Mariucci said. "It's touch and go. We'll have to see how that goes."

Webster, who would be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Mike Rumph, already seemed to be looking past the Giants game. "If I can't go, that's what I'm hoping for - (his teammates) will take care of business, and I'll be back next week," he said.

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