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Alex Smith Possibly Done For the Year

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Series of short posts today, because I have to do the blog thing occasionally.

Alex Smith is visiting preeminent hacksaw man Dr. James Andrews.

The 49ers have reported Smith's injury as a grade three shoulder separation that would not require surgery but would sideline him indefinitely.

A source close to Smith told ESPN's Ed Werder that the quarterback intends to follow whatever recommendation Andrews makes even if it is surgery that would likely end his season.

Andrews is a bona fide med celeb and his work saves careers. It was mootable whether the Niners ever had a realistic shot at the playoffs, but this injury certainly seems to be the proverbial final nail in the coffin.

The bigger concern, at least as I see it, is that San Francisco must go another year without a clear idea of whether they can truly count on Smith to be the future of the franchise. That's a crippling level of uncertainty. The Niners are tied to Smith's salary for the time being, he was a first overall pick and therefore is being paid like a Chinese Walton. This was a make or break season for Smith, with the team finally looking towards contention, Smith entering his third season and finally surrounded by some talent in the skill positions, Niners fans rightfully looked for him to produce.

Never once in his career has Smith produced. This season he has taken a decided step backwards. His 2007 DVOA is once again well below average: -25.5%. This injury muddies what would otherwise have been clear by season's end: If the Niners wish to compete, they must have a plan B: A backup that does not contain this sequence of letters "dilf".

The upshot to Smith's injury is that Super Goliath is suddenly staring down a top ten pick in next year's draft.

I don't think this injury has any impact on the Seattle Seahawks competing in 2007.