Freddie Solomon, San Francisco's starting wide receiver and punt returner, sprained his left knee at practice today and is given only a 50-50 chance of playing in the Super Bowl against Cincinnati Sunday.
Solomon hurt his knee when he collided with cornerback Ronnie Lott while working on a sideline pass pattern. Solomon was taken to the locker room immediately for treatment.
"Right now, I would have to say he's listed as questionable for Sunday," Coach Bill Walsh said.
If Solomon, who caught 59 passes for six touchdowns during the regular season, can't play, he will be replaced by Mike Wilson. Wilson is a free agent who was signed after being released by Dallas. He had nine receptions this year.
If Solomon is unable to return punts, that chore would go to running back Bill Ring, who has not reurned a punt this season.
The 49ers practiced to the strains of loud music today. "We wanted lots of noise," Walsh said. "We will do it again tomorrow. I could tell the difference right away. The boys seemed to like it, but the quarterback had to bark his signals much louder than during the last three days."
The Silverdome, the site of the Super Bowl, is considered to be one of the noisiest facilities in the National Football League.
Bengal Coach Forrest Gregg was upset this morning over a story in a Detroit newspaper in which a CBS-TV producer was cast as not being excited over the Super Bowl matchup. CBS will televise the game.
"I apologize to Terry O'Neil (the producer) for being here," Gregg said sarcastically. "I'm sorry we aren't Dallas or Pittsburgh or Miami or Buffalo, but we're here and we're going to stay here."
O'Neil later contended he was quoted out of context. He met with Gregg for 15 minutes to talk about the story and apologize for any misunderstandings.
Gregg was able to laugh about a comment by Walsh, who said he thought Bengal fullback Pete Johnson would carry the ball 30 or more times in the game.
"I'm sure Bill isn't trying to tell us what to do, any more than we would tell him what to do," Gregg said. "Pete Johnson will carry the ball. But we are a passing team. Passing is what got us here."