Saints’ RB Sproles active for crucial game with 49ers

NEW ORLEANS — Saints running back Darren Sproles is active for today’s game with the San Francisco 49ers for the first time since fracturing his left hand on Oct. 28.

Sproles, who had an NFL playoff-record 15 catches in the Saints’ 36-32 loss to the 49ers in the divisional playoffs last Jan. 14, missed three games after having surgery to repair the hand he fractured in an Oct. 28 game with the Denver Broncos.

Saints right tackle Zach Strief, who returned to practice this week on a limited basis, is among the Saints’ inactives. He’ll miss his third straight game since having a procedure on his groin to repair a core muscle.

INACTIVES: The other Saints’ inactives are CB Corey White (knee), DE Junior Galette (ankle), T Charles Brown (knee), CB Elbert Mack (concussion), LB Scott Shanle, and DT Tyrunn Walker.

The Niners’ inactives are FB Will Tukuafu (wrist), QB Scott Tolzien, WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, S Trenton Robinson, G Joe Looney, and NT Ian Williams.

SMITH ACTIVE: 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who started the first nine games but missed Monday night’s 32-7 blowout of the Chicago Bears, is active.

However, second-year pro Colin Kaepernick is expected to start his second NFL game.