Niners' Smith done for season
Alex Smith's season is over with another shoulder injury. The high-priced quarterback's short career with the San Francisco 49ers is probably finished as well.
The 49ers put Smith on injured reserve yesterday with a broken bone in his right shoulder. The top pick in the 2005 draft probably will require more surgery on the joint that limited him to seven games last season.
Coach Mike Nolan improbably claimed to know little about the injury that ended his former franchise quarterback's fourth NFL campaign before Smith even played in a regular-season game this fall.
"I feel sorry for him," said running back Frank Gore, the Niners' third-round pick in Smith's draft. "He was a great teammate and worked hard. I just hope the best for him, and hope he gets well."
After paying Smith more than $31 million during his four years with the 49ers, the bleak realities of NFL salary cap life mean the club is likely to release him before next season. General manager Scot McCloughan said last week that San Francisco can't risk paying $9 million in base salary to a backup quarterback in 2009.
"I'm not going to answer any hypothetical questions about the future," said Nolan, who had an embarrassing public spat with Smith last year over the severity of the quarterback's shoulder injury. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there."
Smith refused to comment.
Smith had surgery on his shoulder in December to repair three torn ligaments from a separated shoulder. After several months of rehabilitation, Smith appeared to be at full strength in training camp despite losing his job to J.T. O'Sullivan, who was quicker to pick up new offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system. But Smith experienced severe pain in his shoulder last Friday while making a long throw, and subsequent tests found a problem.
The 49ers signed 38-year-old backup Jamie Martin, a veteran of Martz's system who was out of football.
Colston out 4-6 weeksMarques Colston, the New Orleans Saints' top receiver during the past two seasons, had surgery on his left thumb and will miss 4-6 weeks.
Colston said he tore a ligament when he reached to make a catch while taking a hit to his hands from Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber's helmet Sunday.
"I don't know if my thumb just got caught in an awkward position. It just bent all the way backward," said Colston, who was wearing a cast over his left hand. "I guess the only silver lining is that I'm going to have a chance to come back and play a good portion of the season and hopefully be back in time for that playoff push."