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49ers' Donte Whitner says he'll play Sunday

  • A sprained knee shouldn't keep Donte Whitner off the playing field in London. (JEFF CHIU / Associated Press)

LONDON — Safety Donte Whitner says the “small sprain” to his knee won't keep him out of the 49ers' game Sunday. But he also won't be 100 percent.

Whitner didn't have to risk re-injuring it on a muddy practice field Friday, at least. The 49ers moved their practice site from The Grove in the Hertfordshire countryside to Allianz Park, an artificial-turf field that's home to Saracens Rugby Club.

Whitner and the 49ers (5-2) are prepared, however, for encountering a potential slippery surface at Wembley Stadium, where they'll face the winless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7).

“We'll deal with it and use longer cleats,” Whitner said. “A lot of times on surfaces that are wet, you shorten your steps, try not to overstride and slip.

“In that situation, the offense has an advantage on us because they know their moves and their routes, and we have to react.”

Whitner is all for the long-shot possibility of the NFL planting a team in London, although he said “a lot of guys” feel otherwise.

“I love London. This is my eighth time here,” Whitner said. “I'd definitely be one of those to sign up for that team. It'd be cool. It's not that much different from playing all the way in San Francisco and having an East Coast game.”

Wait, eight trips to London? Why?

“Just the culture. To be outside the country. All the restaurants, the nightlife, the way people speak.I learned new words this week, like what 'fancy' means.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh cited two reasons for the 49ers' move out of The Grove. One, that practice field was too soggy. Two, players and coaches planned to go sightseeing Friday afternoon after practice, so Allianz Park brought them halfway closer to London.

Harbaugh scripted a list of six landmarks he was heading to see. He specifically hoped to descend into Winston Churchill's war rooms, stating: “That would be one of the highlights of my life.”

The Tennessee Titans' Akeem Ayers was fined $15,750 for his hit Sunday on Colin Kaepernick that nullified an interception.

Tarell Brown on the challenges of facing Justin Blackmon: “He's a young guy coming in and making a lot of plays. You can see they're featuring him. He does a great job of using his body, strength and size. All of us DBs are going to have be on top of our game to cover him.” Blackmon (hamstring) sat out Jaguars practice Friday as a precaution, but is expected to start Sunday.

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