McNown Shoulder Sore
August 7 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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ESPN had one thing right in it’s broadcast of the 49ers first pre-season game, all the way from Osaka. There is definitely something wrong with Cade McNown’s shoulder. Still the 49ers are adamant that the discomfort McNown is currently experiencing had nothing to do with the team’s choice not to play McNown in the game.
The 49ers are carrying four quarterbacks on their roster. One will be eliminated from the active roster by the time the season roles around, and it won’t be starter Jeff Garcia. This 49ers did not feel McNown was comfortable enough with the 49ers offense to put him in the game, and so he received no snaps in the 49ers first exhibition outing.
Steve Mariucci had the following to say about McNown’s shoulder "I don't know about fully healthy. I know he does have a sore shoulder, whether it's going to require surgery or not remains to be seen. I'd like to see him play some."
Clearly the 49ers believe that McNown can’t use the injury as an excuse for poor play, but the team is also likely willing to bend, and let McNown spend a year learning the system from the injured reserve, where he would not take up a roster spot.
General Manager Terry Donahue, stated that McNown is expected to compete despite the injury to his AC joint. Donahue stated “There’s no question about that [the AC joint being injured]. It does affect his throwing to some degree, there’s no question about that. But, we don’t have any immediate plans to do anything about it. At some point, we’ll have to address it, but not today and not next week. Cade hasn’t been in a game yet so we don’t know how he compares with the other players.”
Injuries to the AC joint are usually a result of not giving a separated shoulder enough time to heal. The joint thus heals with too much space between the bones, causing the problem that McNown is currently experiencing. The injury is not always treated with surgery, but surgery has been show to alleviate a great deal of pain with very few side effects in this case.
It certainly sounds like the 49ers have already decided that McNown will have the surgery, and keep him on the roster for an extra season. The result could be an extremely fierce competition at quarterback next off-season.