49ers' Clements Out with Fractured Shoulder

By Joe Kukura
|  Monday, Nov 2, 2009  |  Updated 2:44 PM PDT
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49ers' Clements Out with Fractured Shoulder

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Nate Clements has had a problem keeping up with the competition lately.

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It was bad enough that Nate Clements was benched shortly before the 49ers' loss to the Colts Sunday.

But it's even worse that Clements fractured his shoulder blade during the game, and is out of action indefinitely.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Clements fractured a scapula in his right shoulder late in the first half Sunday. There's no current estimate on how much time Clements will miss, but the Chronicle notes that a similar injury kept wide receiver Brandon Jones out for six weeks. On that timeline, Clements would not return until the match up  week 15 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. Singletary said he will not place Clements on injured reserve because if the is "in the playoffs, we want him to play."

Clements will have an MRI Monday afternoon, but early indications are he's not lost for the season. And by "early indications", I mean "what I'm reading on Twitter." The extremely plugged-in Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee tweeted Monday morning, "No prognosis on clements. Wont go on ir." "Wont go on ir" refers to Injured Reserve, a move which would take Nate Clements off the 49ers' shelf for the rest of the year.

If Clements was benched prior to Sunday's game, it's fair to infer that he's not really living up to his $80 million contract. The 49ers made Clements the highest-paid defensive player in football with that 2007 deal, a deal which has been since surpassed by Albert Haynesworth's government bailout-sized $100 million deal in Washington.

So Clements is no longer the highest-paid defensive player in football, but he's still the highest-paid guy on the team. And the highest-paid guy on the team is now both demoted and injured.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat connects the dots and wonders what this means for Clements' future. "He's due $6M next year," Maiocco observes on his Twitter feed. "That might be too much."

We can only hope that Clements will react to this situation as did Alex Smith -- by taking an enormous pay cut, and then playing a whole bunch better once the lower salary kicks in.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who constantly confuses Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee with Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

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