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Alex Smith will wait two weeks or so before deciding on whether to surgically repair his broken right shoulder, according to a source close to the situation. As reported previously, Smith has a fractured coracoid process, a bone in the shoulder that is typically only broken when there is severe trauma. Smith has said he didn't absorb any big hits to the shoulder during the preseason and that the injury didn't stem from the tackle that separated his shoulder last September.

Doctors are speculating that the fracture might be related to the suture that was used to reattach his shoulder to his collarbone in December. When Smith's shoulder was separated, the ligaments that connect the shoulder and collarbone were torn away. Dr. James Andrews re-connected those ligaments with a suture, which is where the fracture appears to have occured.

If Smith ultimately opts for surgery, a pin will be used to stabilize the area. However, it is preferable that the injury heals on its own. Doctors will take the the next two weeks to see how the area is responding. Smith was placed on injured reserve today, ending his season.

-- Matt Barrows

MATTHEW 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.

June 2009

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