A lot of new information has been flowing in today and I thought it would be worth compiling it here all together. The next major update will probably come on Thursday once the swelling goes down. In the meantime here's what we know about Smith's situation and the type of injury. Consider it a more specific type of link dump. I'm writing this Monday night, but I'll add more links to it tomorrow morning.
...Matrder said a recent studies said that throwing athletes (quarterbacks, pitchers, etc.) tended to do better when surgery was not involved. Marder said it's entirely possible that Smith could resume throwing in two weeks and be ready for action in four weeks. He said a full recovery is usually a four- to six-week process. Four weeks would put Smith on the field for the Oct. 28 home game against New Orleans. Six weeks means he'd be back for the Nov. 12 game against, gulp, Seattle.
ESPN's article has some Alex Smith quotes and discusses the best-case scenario:
"I've taken lots and lots of sacks like that, and if you fall a fraction of a way different, you get up and you're fine," Smith said. "It didn't go very far," he said with a grimace. "I'd like to think I have a little bit of pain tolerance, but I knew something was wrong there."
Smith is scheduled to be re-examined on Thursday after the swelling goes down. There are tears to the AC and CC ligaments in his right shoulder, he said. As for a time frame for Smith's return, it's probably looking more like a 4- to 6-week thing.
Smith underwent X-rays at the stadium, which showed no fractures. This morning, he had an MRI examination. There were only the two torn ligaments, with no damage to the muscle or rotator cuff, Smith said. The ligaments will heal on their own.
Smith is out indefinitely, and could miss as many as six weeks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Niners expect to set a timetable for Smith's recovery by Thursday. Trent Dilfer will start in the meantime. Oct. 1 - 4:43 pm et