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As 49ers arrive in London, QB Smith nurses injured shoulder

LONDON -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith spent Monday morning at a London hospital having his injured left shoulder examined, and he is still waiting to hear if he will be able to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium.

The 49ers (1-6) flew to London from Charlotte, where they blew a late lead and lost to the Carolina Panthers 23-20. Smith was injured on a third-quarter sack and still had his non-throwing arm in a sling Monday afternoon.

"It's all right. Could be better," Smith said after arriving at the team's hotel outside London from the hospital.

Smith completed 9 of 19 passes for 129 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers. He was hurt when a mix-up on protection allowed Charles Johnson to come in and tackle him on the blind side, driving his shoulder into the turf.

Smith was still in pain and hadn't slept much since the team flew to London overnight. As far as playing against the Broncos, the quarterback said he had no idea.

"I'm still waiting to hear from the doctors," he said.

San Francisco coach Mike Singletary also was in the dark about Smith's status.

"I'm not a doctor, so we'll have to wait and see," he said.

The 49ers and Broncos are playing in the fourth regular-season game in the British capital. The three previous games were sellouts, and this one is expected to be as well.

For Singletary, though, the trip is about making his struggling team better.

"For us, it's a nice chance to get away and regroup, rethink," Singletary said. "It really works to be a bonus for us. It really gives us a chance to kind of get away from the hustle and bustle of the NFL, to come over and kind of think through some things, look at maybe some changes we need to make."

Although Singletary wouldn't be specific on what changes were needed, the 49ers led by seven points until the Panthers tied the score with 1:59 to go. Less than a minute later, backup quarterback David Carr threw an interception that set up Carolina's winning field goal.

"We're going to figure it out this week. It's important for us to continue to try and put the pieces in place that gives us a chance to get over the edge," Singletary said. "We still have a chance to have a good season and accomplish some of the goals that we wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the season."

Linebacker Patrick Willis said the team still has a chance to win the NFC West, since the first-place Seattle Seahawks are just 4-2.

The first step toward that goal is to put Sunday's loss behind.

"Right now we still got to put closure to the game we played yesterday," Willis said. "Hopefully us coming over ahead of time will get us acclimated ... get our bodies ready to play a good football game."

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The Broncos aren't due to arrive until Friday, giving them less time to get accustomed to the city and the surroundings.

"We know this a business trip, but at the same time, we have a younger football team, and I wanted our guys to come and get a taste of the culture, a little bit of that, and at the same time get a feel for the environment and the weather and the whole nine yards," Singletary said. "And just be settled by the time the game starts."

And be ready to play another team that has been struggling -- the Broncos fell to 2-5 after losing 59-14 to the visiting Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

"We can't let that loss (to the Panthers) get to us," 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said. "We have to keep moving forward, keep our heads up and do what we have to do."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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