49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 10, 2007
Three quarterbacks, four injuries

Alex Smith will drive up to Stanford Hospital today for an examination that, combined with a phone call to Dr. James Andrews, will result in a plan of attack for treating his separated shoulder. Smith said that he hoped to speak with Andrews either today or tomorrow.
Smith rested his shoulder for two and half weeks before attempting some light throws last week before practice. One of the options remains surgery, although Smith on Monday reiterated that the report by Fox’s JC Pearson a day earlier -- that Smith already had decided on surgery -- was incorrect. “I don’t know where he got that,” Smith said. If Smith did opt for surgery to repair the ligaments between his shoulder and collarbone, it would be a two-month recovery process. Smith has said that surgery would be a last resort.
Doctors had hoped that those ligaments, torn and stretched when he separated his shoulder Sept. 30, would scar and tighten on their own. There is now a sense that while they have begun to scar over, they have stretched to the point that they will not tighten any more. One positive that Smith reported was that the forearm strain he suffered while attempting to return from the shoulder surgery has not affected the light throwing he has done recently.
Meanwhile, Trent Dilfer was at team headquarters today but declined to speak with reporters after suffering a blow to the head yesterday.
“I can barely think, let alone talk,” he said softly at his locker. Dilfer is doubtful to play Saturday against Cincinnati.
The likely starter also is suffering from an injury.
Shaun Hill spoke to reporters with an ACE bandage around the forefinger of his throwing hand. Hill broke the finger in mid November, and after playing Sunday it was purple and swollen. Hill said that’s a routine event – he and the team training staff remove the swelling from the finger and it returns the next day in practice.
Hill played with a small brace on the finger Sunday, which contributed to the ball twice slipping from his hand and into the arms of Vikings defenders. He said he hoped to practice without any protection Wednesday.
The first slip originally was ruled an interception but was changed to a fumble Monday by the league. He also was given an extra passing yard – he now has 181 yards total – on a play to Delanie Walker. The changes meant that Hill’s passer rating improved to 106.8 –- easily the best rating by a 49ers’ quarterback this season.
-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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