SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -Trent Dilfer will start for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in place of quarterback Alex Smith, who finally acknowledged a serious arm injury has been affecting his play.
Dilfer, the 14-year veteran who struggled through three straight losses while filling in for Smith, got the assignment Thursday from coach Mike Nolan.
Smith and his coach had a lengthy meeting Wednesday following the quarterback's public disclosure that his recently separated right shoulder led to a forearm injury that prevents him from throwing well. Smith and Nolan both had previously denied Smith's arm injury was causing his poor play.
So the 49ers (2-7) will turn to Dilfer for their home game against the St. Louis Rams (1-8).
``There's no time for me to be sympathetic (toward Smith),'' said Dilfer, who has a close relationship with the former No. 1 draft pick. ``My job is to go out and play the best football I can play. ... My relationship with Alex won't change, but I don't have time for that drama or any other type of drama.''
Dilfer got his first snaps since 2005 after Smith was injured on the third play of San Francisco's loss to Seattle on Sept. 30. Dilfer, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2000 season, went 47-of-90 for 463 yards with three touchdown passes and five interceptions for the 49ers.
Smith said his forearm still hurt, and he planned to sit out most of practice Thursday for the second straight day. He acknowledged a bit of regret for airing his communication problems with Nolan in public before discussing them fully with the head coach.
``He and I have talked in the past,'' Smith said. ``What I was saying and what he was hearing might have been different. In the future, I'll try to be more clear.''
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