SANTA CLARA — After two games off, linebacker Patrick Willis said he felt "amazing" at practice Wednesday. His projection for a comeback Sunday when the 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals: "Lord's will, I'll be ready to go on Sunday." Willis sustained a groin injury Sept. 22 against the Indianapolis Colts, and he hoped to return last Sunday night against the Houston Texans. After warming up in pregame, Willis consulted with coach Jim Harbaugh and trainers before sitting out that 34-3 win.
"Last week, I really tried to push it to go and it just wasn't all the way there," Willis said. "What I didn't want to do was lie to myself and teammates and not give all of myself. Me and the training staff felt it was the right approach.
"Yesterday it was better. I'm still feeling it a little bit but it's certainly a lot better than it was." Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Willis' comeback chances are "better" this week than last. The team officially will list his game-day status on Friday's injury report.
Without Willis (and linebacker Aldon Smith, who's on personal leave), the 49ers defense has yielded just 14 points and one touchdown in posting victories over the St. Louis Rams and Texans. Willis was complimentary about how his replacement, Michael Wilhoite, has performed.
The past couple weeks have also allowed Willis time to heal other wounds, including the right hand he broke July 31 in training camp.
BOLDIN NOT SENTIMENTAL
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin will be facing his former Arizona team for the second time Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers (3-2) host the Cardinals (3-2) in an NFC West matchup.
Boldin spent his first seven seasons with Arizona before being traded to Baltimore for two draft picks following the 2009 season. Boldin also downplayed the reunion leading up to his first meeting against the Cardinals in 2011 in Baltimore. He took out any lingering feelings on the field, catching seven passes for 145 yards to rally the Ravens past Arizona 30-27.