SANTA CLARA -- Linebacker Patrick Willis' broken right hand has required surgery but he is still expected to play in the 49ers' regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Green Bay Packers, ESPN reported.
Willis injured himself Thursday during a pass-protection drill against fullback Bruce Miller. It's the third time in Willis' seven-year career he'll be playing with a cast on his right hand, which he also endured his penultimate season at Ole Miss.
Former practice-squad player Michael Wilhoite has taken most first-team reps at Willis' "Jack" slot since Thursday. Rookie Nick Moody, a sixth-round pick out of Florida State, also is working at that position.
Willis hasn't practiced since hurting his hand, and he's been ruled out of Thursday night's exhibition opener against the Denver Broncos.