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49ers' RB Hearst Breaks Leg


San Francisco's Garrison Hearst, the NFC's second-leading rusher, broke a bone in his left leg on the first play from scrimmage during Saturday's NFC divisional playoff against Atlanta.

Hearst broke the left fibula -- a bone in the lower leg between the knee and ankle.

Hearst, who rushed for 1,570 yards during the regular season, second to Atlanta's Jamal Anderson, who had 1,846 yards, was hurt when he attempted to spin away from a tackle by the Falcons' Chuck Smith. Hearst twisted leg awkwardly on the turf at the Georgia Dome.

Hearst, who had cramps in his right calf and left hamstring in last week's 30-27 win over Green Bay, lay on the turf for several minutes, before being helped off the field.

He was replaced by Terry Kirby, who rushed for 258 yards on 48 carries, a 5.4-yard average, during the regular season.

Moments later, Kirby injured his right ankle when Atlanta's Tim Dwight returned a punt 36 yards, leading to Atlanta's 2-yard touchdown run by Anderson with 6:25 left in the opening quarter. Kirby returned to the locker room for examination and treatment, then returned to the game early in the second period.

During his absence, Chuck Levy filled in at running back.

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