San Jose Mercury

Plummer may need shoulder surgery
January 14, 2003

By Darren Sabedra
Mercury News

49ers cornerback Ahmed Plummer will have his dislocated right shoulder re-evaluated in four weeks to determine if surgery is necessary.

``We did an MRI today and basically, like what happens with most dislocated shoulders, we'll have to wait and see if the tissue heals back over the socket,'' Plummer said Monday.

Plummer suffered the injury four minutes into a 31-6 playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. He collided with teammate Mike Rumph as Rumph tackled receiver Joe Jurevicius.

The shoulder was popped back into place in the locker room, but Plummer was unable to return.

``It was very difficult,'' he said. ``I prepared all week for this challenge, for this test, and I had to watch from the sideline. That's always hard when you prepare for something and you can't go out there and perform.''

Mariucci plays defense

One day later, Coach Steve Mariucci continued to defend his decision to run out the clock at the end of the first half.

Yes, the 49ers trailed 28-6. Yes, they had two timeouts and 50 seconds remaining. Yes, Garrison Hearst's 9-yard run moved the ball to the 49ers' 40.

``We had some things to fix in a big way,'' Mariucci said Monday. ``We needed to fix them at halftime.''

Though some players questioned the decision after the game, left guard Eric Heitmann said he understood the coach's reasoning.

``We didn't need to give them a chance for an easy turnover,'' Heitmann said Monday. ``The way their defense had been playing, going the length of the field in 40 seconds might have been a stretch.''

Among the many things they learned Sunday, the 49ers realize the importance of home-field advantage and a first-round bye.

``The game this past weekend definitely showed how important it is to have that first week off,'' Heitmann said. ``Tampa Bay played great, and I think we were physically and emotionally drained from the previous week.''

Safety Tony Parrish (thumb), defensive end John Engelberger (ankle) and Heitmann (hand) will undergo surgery, Mariucci said.

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