Bono's injury turns win into loss for 49ers Second injured QB to miss 5 to 8 weeks

August 17, 1993|By John Schumacher | John Schumacher,McClatchy News Service

DENVER -- Under any other circumstances, watching your much-maligned kicker win a football game on a last-second field goal would be cause for celebration.

But San Francisco 49ers coach George Seifert marched off the field at Mile High Stadium last night wearing a glum look after Mike Cofer's 37-yard field goal produced a 16-13 exhibition victory over the Denver Broncos.

And with good reason. Quarterback Steve Bono suffered a separated left shoulder in the second quarter and was scheduled to undergo surgery today. He will be out five to eight weeks, according to team physician Michael Dillingham.

With starter Steve Young out for at least another two weeks with a broken thumb and third-string quarterback Bill Musgrave still hurting from bruised ribs, the 49ers are down to just two healthy quarterbacks: rookies Elvis Grbac and Jeff Bridewell.

No wonder, then, that Seifert sounded down as he walked into the locker room after the game. "We won the battle," he said, "but lost the war."

The 49ers face the distinct possibility that Young and Bono will not be available for the season opener Sept. 5 against Pittsburgh, raising an obvious question.

Are there any quarterbacks out there?

Team vice president John McVay hinted that the 49ers would stick with Musgrave, Grbac and Bridewell until Young and Bono return.

Grbac, an eighth-round pick, and Bridewell, a free agent from UC Davis, have never played in an NFL regular-season game. And Musgrave has worked in just one.

Bono, who was scheduled to play just the first half, was injured with 57 seconds left in the second quarter after completing a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Mark Seay.

Defensive tackle and Maryland alumnus Darren Drozdov, running a stunt with two other linemen, broke free and drove Bono into the turf after the pass was released.

Bono left the field holding his left wrist, but X-rays showed a separation of the acromioclavicular joint in his left shoulder.

"The most optimistic would be five weeks," Dillingham said. "And that would be pretty darn optimistic."

Bono said he knew right away he was seriously hurt.

"I saw him [Drozdov] coming," Bono said. "I knew I had to get rid of the ball quick.

"He had both my arms. I was headed for my face, and I was just trying to wiggle any way out to break the fall. He landed on me, and I landed on my shoulder."

Bono joins a long list of key 49ers who are injured, including starting offensive tackles Steve Wallace and Harris Barton and starting right guard Roy Foster.

Trailing 13-6 at halftime, the 49ers drove 77 yards in 13 plays to tie it in the third quarter. Grbac completed three of four passes for 46 yards on the drive, which ended on Amp Lee's dive on fourth down from the 2.

The Broncos threatened on their next drive, but rookie safety Damien Russell intercepted a Tommy Maddox pass.

Two possessions later, Grbac guided the 49ers 77 yards in 13 plays. The drive stalled at the Denver 20, and after a 49ers timeout with four seconds left, Cofer hit the game-winner as the clock expired.

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