Alex Smith has sprained shoulder joint

It's uncertain whether QB Alex Smith will play Sunday in London against the Denver Broncos. What's more certain is that Mike Singletary is the 49ers coach after owner John York offers a vote of confidence.

Here's the latest news from London as the San Francisco 49ers prepare for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium:

--At MRI taken at a London hospital showed that quarterback Alex Smith suffered a sprained AC joint in his left, non-throwing shoulder. The severity of the injury isn't known, but it's possible Smith might try to practice at some point this week in an attempt to play.

Don't look for the 49ers to reveal too much, however. They'd rather have the Broncos wondering whether to prepare for Smith or his backup, David Carr, who finished up last Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers after Smith was grounded by a Charles Johnson sack in the third quarter.

Remember, Smith missed most of two seasons in 2007 and 2008 because of a similar injury to his throwing shoulder, so it's likely the team will take a cautious approach.

--49ers owner John York, like his son, team president Jed York, gave coach Mike Singletary what amounted to a vote of confidence despite their 1-6 record. According to David White of the San Francisco Chronicle, York, who is with the team in London, was asked if Singletary will remain head coach.

His response: "Mike is our coach. If we can stop giving the ball away, stop turning it over, we'll be OK."

Asked if Singletary will remain the coach through the season, John York said, "Yes, he's our coach. It didn't help to have Alex injured, but we'll have to deal with that separately."

So read that however you want. Both the owner and president have confirmed that Singletary is the coach, but when asked specifically if he would remain there at least until the season ends, they wouldn't say.

Here's how we see it: Singletary is there for now, and although ownership would prefer to see him turn the team around and put together a few wins, thus sparing themselves the task of firing him in midseason, they have to keep their options open.

They also know that dismissing the coach would send the wrong message to their fans – that they've given up on this season because the team isn't going anywhere.

Niners Digest Top Stories