Injured ankle stops 49ers' Gore

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is expected to miss three weeks because of a right ankle strain.

The 49ers said Monday night that the strain was revealed during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test.

Gore injured the ankle on his only carry during Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He left the game after a four-yard gain and did not return.

Gore was taken to the locker room on a cart, but X-rays revealed no broken bones.

The team says the injury is not related to the ankle sprain Gore sustained during his 207-yard rushing performance against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 20.

Gore will miss Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams and next week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. His place in the lineup will be taken by rookie Glen Coffee, who rushed for 54 yards on 25 carries at Minnesota.

The 49ers have their bye week Oct. 18, and Gore is expected to return Oct. 25 at Houston.

Labor talks today

The NFL and the players union will hold talks today, with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith hopeful of getting a formal proposal from the owners.

The NFL opted out of the collective bargaining agreement last year, although the contract won’t expire until after the 2010 season.

Team owners say the contract, negotiated in 2006 by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the late Gene Upshaw, then the union’s chief, heavily favors the players.

Extra points

Winless Tampa Bay benched starting quarterback Byron Leftwich and replaced him with second-year pro Josh Johnson, after Leftwich went 7-of-16 passes for 22 yards and one interception in Sunday’s 24-0 loss to the New York Giants. … Miami quarterback Chad Pennington may seek a second opinion to determine how long he’ll be sidelined after he dislocated his right shoulder in Sunday’s loss to San Diego. He’s had two surgeries on the shoulder since 2005. … St. Louis QB Marc Bulger has a bruised rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder that will probably sideline him a few weeks. … Cleveland’s starting QB is in question again after coach Eric Mangini pulled Brady Quinn at halftime of the Browns’ loss to Baltimore. Mangini, who inserted Derek Anderson without success, said he will announce his choice for next Sunday on Wednesday.