49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 6, 2008
Alex Smith injures shoulder, doubtful for Sunday

There's been a late development on the injury report. Alex Smith injured his surgically repaired right shoulder this week and is doubtful for tomorrow's game. That means Shaun Hill will be the back-up and that Michael Robinson would be the emergency back-up. I'm told that it was a non-contact injury but there are no other details about the injury at this time. Here's a quote from Mike Nolan:

"Yesterday Alex Smith sustained a non-contact injury to his surgically repaired right shoulder. He will be consulting with his surgeon in Birmingham for treatment recommendations. At this time there are no specifics to the injury or a timetable. "

Smith has been practicing all week and was seen zipping the ball during Friday's practice. I'm told he began complaining of soreness in the shoulder following Friday's session. While Hill ran the scout team this week, Smith and starter J.T. O'Sullivan were working with quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner on drop-backs and quick throws. That is to say, there seemed to be no indication that Smith's shoulder was bothering him during the week.

Smith, of course, suffered a Grade 3 shoulder separation on the third play of the game in Week 4 last season. He returned to the starting lineup four weeks later but was ineffective and placed on injured reserve following a bad loss to the Seahawks on Nov. 12. Dr. James Andrews repaired the shoulder in December and Smith is consulting with Andrews about the current injury. Smith recently said the shoulder has felt good all offseason and for the most part the injury was a non-issue. He said all of his throws were normal save for the deepest passes, which have been slow to return to form. Smith was not alarmed by that, saying that long throws were the last thing to rebound following his type of surgery. Smith said he threw more passes this offseason while learning Mike Martz's offense than he had in any of his previous offseasons.

***UPDATE**** Smith had an MRI, which will be sent to Andrews. The results of the MRI were not definitive. He is expected to attend today's game

-- 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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