Frank Gore suffers fractured hip, is done for the season

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (C) finds the hole and runs for a first down in the first quarter of the 49ers game against the Arizona Cardinals San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ November 29,2010. UPI/Art Foxall Photo via Newscom

The 49ers better hope that Brian Westbrook has found the fountain of youth because their chances of making the playoffs just took a major hit.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reports that Frank Gore will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured right hip. He suffered the injury in the first half of the Niners’ 27-6 victory over the Cardinals on Monday night, although what’s interesting is that he returned to the game after initially heading to the locker room for treatment. He did not receive X-rays during that time, however, and he eventually carried the ball once more before leaving the game for good.

While the team has yet to make an official announcement on his timetable to return, it’s probably safe to assume that his season is over. Westbrook and rookie Anthony Dixon will now split carries in the Niners’ backfield.

It came against the Cardinals’ shoddy front seven, but Westbrook looked great on Monday night. He rushed for a season-high 136 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown and showed some of the cutting ability that made him popular in Philadelphia. Considering how well he ran, it makes you wonder why Mike Singletary and his coaching staff didn’t get him more involved until now. (He had just five carries coming into the game.)

With the win, the 49ers find themselves back in contention in the worst division in football. And seeing as how they play the Rams and Seahawks (two teams with one more win than San Fran) in December, it’s not unrealistic to think that Troy Smith and Co. can win the NFC West. But losing Gore was a major blow and it puts even more emphasis on Smith getting up to speed with the offense so that the Niners can open things up in the passing game.

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