Newberry will play in pain rather than with cast

Jeremy Newberry's not going to let anything like a broken bone prevent him from doing his part in the 49ers' playoff push. So he'll play the rest of the season without having surgery on his fractured right ring finger - the same finger he broke in August. "It's painful, but I don't need to fix it," Newberry said. "If it heals crooked, I'll have it re-broken and fixed later. It's not life or death."

Newberry would rather play in pain the rest of the season rather than have his finger put in a cast, where it could heal normally while the season progressed. Newberry already tried that one. He broke the same finger in late August, then had surgery to place two screws in the finger before having it casted. Newberry then snapped with his left hand early in the season before having the cast removed.

The Pro Bowl center has decided not to go that route this time, saying he can snap through the pain right-handed, while at the same time avoiding the chance of making mistakes by snapping left-handed. The Niners' frequent use of the shotgun formation played heavily in his decision, Newberry said.

"I had a cast on my hand before," Newberry said. "I couldn't snap with a cast, which is why I'm choosing not to wear a cast this time, so I can continue to snap right-handed and snap in the shotgun. If it wasn't for the shotgun and Jeff (Garcia) being comfortable with that part of his offense, I'd probably snap left-handed and just pad it and let it heal. But I want to be able to do that more because it's part of our offense.

"It's not an option at this point in the season to go ahead and do that and wear a cast again. That's not even an option we discussed. I don't want to mess up and cost as a game because (of a bad snap). I'll deal with the pain and just do it with my right hand. To me, it's not that big a deal."

Newberry, a tough-guy throwback to another era, practiced this week with his broken finger simply taped to another finger with no padding. He broke the finger in overtime last week against San Diego. He has a completely new spiral break in the finger, right next to his break from August, which now is almost completely healed.

"It's just a little sore every time the ball hits the quarterback's hand," Newberry said. "But it's not like I can't do it. I'm sure it will hurt after the games. But when I'm playing, it's something that's not that big an issue to me. It's something you can kind of mentally block out."

And what about when knowing defenders try to perhaps get an extra shot on his injured finger?

"It don't matter," Newberry said. "It's going to hurt regardless. I'm going to throw that thing just as hard as I've ever thrown it and try to stick them with it. So they can reach and grab all they want. It is what it is and I'll be fine. Hey, I played with my foot broken before and I wasn't going to walk with my hands."

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