Clements out indefinitely with broken shoulder blade

Nate Clements was not in the 49ers’ starting lineup today, and it might be a while before he returns. Clements sustained a fractured right scapula in today’s game against the Colts. At this point, it is unknown whether it’s a season-ending injury.

 

Tackle Tony Pashos sustained a broken scapula (shoulder blade) last week and was placed on injured reserve. The degree of Clements’ fracture will determine the 49ers’ course of action, a team spokesman said.

 

Third-year cornerback Tarell Brown replaced Clements in the starting lineup at left cornerback Sunday against the Colts and played pretty well. Clements saw limited playing time when the 49ers went to their package of extra defensive backs.

 

Clements began the game as the 49ers’ return man on punts. He averaged 7.8 yards on four punt returns. It was not immediately known if Clements sustained his injury on a punt return.

 

If Clements is out for the year, the 49ers will have a difficult decision to make. He is scheduled to make $6 million in base salary next season. If the team determines that is more than they’re willing to pay for his services, their options are to release him or ask him to accept a pay reduction.

 

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Tackle Joe Staley will undergo an MRI examination on Monday to reveal the extent of a right knee sprain that he sustained on the 49ers’ first offensive play. Staley was walking around in the locker room. When the 49ers got on their flight after the game, they did not believe it would be a season-ending injury.

 

Barry Sims played the rest of the game at left tackle, and held his own against Colts sack master Dwight Freeney, who had one sack and two tackles.

 

–Defensive lineman Demetric Evans was listed on the injury report with a left shoulder sprain.

 

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The theme in the locker room was “finish.”

 

That is clearly what coach Mike Singletary stressed to the team in his post-game remarks. Everybody talked about how the 49ers must find a way to finish. That’s what was missing from their loss to the Vikings, and that’s what they lacked today.

 

They finished and we didn’t. you learn from every game.

 

“We just got to finish,” Frank Gore said.

 

Said Josh Morgan, “We didn’t finish. That’s why we lost.”

 

Michael Crabtree said, “We got to finish, man.”

 

And Takeo Spikes added a twist on the “finish” thought.

 

“We’re going to be searching for that one play to make it happen to get us to the next level,” he said.

 

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The one play that Shawntae Spencer wanted back was Reggie Wayne’s 22-yard touchdown pass from running back Joseph Addai at the beginning of the fourth quarter. It was the only touchdown the 49ers allowed to the vaunted Colts offense.

 

“That was the one lapse of the game I had,” Spencer said. “It was one of those things. He got me.”

 

Spencer was covering Wayne. When Addai got the handoff, Spencer came up from his cornerback spot to play the run. Wayne was all alone in the end zone for the touchdown. After that play, Wayne went up to Spencer and told him that’s the first time the Colts have used that play in Wayne‘s 9-year career.

 

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Another big play was the excessive-celebration call on Josh Morgan in the end zone after Vernon Davis’ touchdown that forced the 49ers to kick off from the 15-yard line with :33 remaining in the first half. That gave the Colts a head start, and they were able to kick a field goal before the end of the half.

 

“I don’t think it was excessive,” Morgan said. “We were celebrating. Every touchdown he’s scored you can see me right there with him, celebrating.”

 

Morgan was pretending to take pictures of Davis. The flag was thrown when Morgan went down on one knee. Said Singletary, “I don’t understand why they’d call that (penalty).”

 

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Alex Smith had an all-right game. He completed 19 of 32 passes for 198 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The interception was a pass intended for Crabtree that was too high. Crabtree got a hand on it to deflect it to Bob Sanders, who made the pick.

 

Crabtree caught a team-high six passes for 81 yards.

 

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By the way . . . the 49ers ran the ball eight times on first downs today and gained 23 yards. Smith completed 7 of 15 passes for 76 yards on first downs, including one interception. He was also sacked twice on first downs.

 

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