SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The major injury question this week for the San Francisco 49ers has to be the status of cornerback Carlos Rogers, who missed last week’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers with a hamstring injury suffered the week before against the Arizona Cardinals.
Rogers’ status was unclear Thursday, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Rogers won’t play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers if he doesn’t participate in at least one practice this week. Rogers didn’t practice Thursday.
Rogers said he’s feeling better and has begun to run 20-yard sprints, but the real test is whether he can stop-and-start and cut off this injury. This is the first time he has had a hamstring pull, and he’s cautious about playing, saying if he aggravates the injury he’d anticipate being out for the NFC Championship Game and beyond if the 49ers advance.
REID LEARNS: 49ers safety Eric Reid says he learned plenty from the concussion he suffered in the first game against the Panthers, when he barreled head-first into burly Carolina fullback Mike Tolbert.
“I think I’m paying a little more attention to guys’ waists,” Reid said. “He’s 250-255 (pounds); those guys I’m going to tackle lower. Littler guys, wide receivers, I can hit a little higher. Just trying to be smarter about it.”
Reid and other 49ers were told by coaches that referees would be more lenient in not flagging physical plays in the postseason. Reid said that proved true in the road victory over the Packers.
“We knew going into the game, with the history of the playoffs, they tend to throw less flags in the playoffs and that’s exactly what happened,” Reid said. “They got away with some stuff, and we got away with some stuff. You just can’t be too blatant.”
Reid was then asked about the escape ability of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
“You have to be aware of what type of quarterback you’re facing,” he said. “On the other hand, I’m going to trust our front seven to keep him in the pocket.”
WASTED TIMEOUTS: San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh seemed an easy grader Wednesday, reflecting on his team’s squandering two timeouts against the Packers.
In both cases confusion was a factor. The second time, quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran on the field just after halftime without the wristband that details the 49ers’ play menu.
“I’d give us an ‘A’ for our overall handling of the situation; the noise, the environment and winning the game,” Harbaugh said. “I won’t call it a 100 percent, but somewhere in the 90s.”
Obviously the Packers’ boisterous crowd had some effect on the 49ers’ communication, as the Panthers crowd can Sunday. Harbaugh said there’s a time-and-situation balancing act between wasting a timeout or accepting a delay-of-game penalty.
“There are times when we haven’t and taken a penalty,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes taking a penalty is the right situation. You see it, and you saw it in some of the other playoff games, as well.”
Kaepernick said he didn’t take any scolding or teasing from teammates, but that didn’t make him feel better about his gaffe.
“I felt dumb for leaving it on the sidelines,” Kaepernick said. “I took it off at halftime and left it in my locker.”
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell