49ers

Justin Smith undergoes MRI, status unclear

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Justin Smith undergoes MRI, status unclear

SANTA CLARA -- All-Pro 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith underwent an MRI examination on Monday, but coach Jim Harbaugh said more will be known about Smith's availability in the coming days.

"It's really going to be how he is today, tomorrow and Wednesday before we know anything," Harbaugh said a day after the 49ers defeated the New England Patriots 41-34 in a wild game Sunday night in Foxboro, Mass.

Smith played fewer than half of the 49ers' defensive snaps after sustaining an undisclosed injury to his left arm. The 49ers reported it as an elbow injury. Team athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson wrapped Smith's left arm around the elbow, but Smith was unable to return to action.

When asked if it's feared that Smith sustained a long-term injury similar to Parys Haralson, who is out with a torn triceps, Harbaugh said, "No, it seems to be two different things."

Smith said Sunday night that he'd do everything in his power to return to the playing field as quickly as possible. In Smith's absence, the New England Patriots scored 28 consecutive points to tie the game before the NFC West-leading 49ers pulled out the victory to improve to 10-3-1 on the season.

Harbaugh said Smith's exit had an impact, but overall the 49ers did well in compensating for the loss of one of their leaders.

"I thought the guys stepped in and did some really good things," Harbaugh said "Ricky Jean (Francois) did a really nice and I thought our guys stepped up. Really, the chances we had to get off the field didn't come from that position. We made some errors elsewhere."

Jean Francois recorded a sack of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on a third-and-15 play with approximately five minutes remaining to force a punt after the 49ers had taken a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The 49ers return to action Sunday night at the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers need to win only one of their final two games to win the division title. However, the 49ers hold a half-game lead over the Green Bay Packers for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. The two top seeds earn a first-round bye in the playoffs, as well as a home game in the divisional round of the playoffs.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

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AP

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.