Quarterback Alex Smith said he felt fine Monday morning after being diagnosed with a concussion after Sunday's game against the Cowboys. "I felt good the next day," Smith said. "I felt really good waking up the next day."
Smith, however, still had to pass a battery of tests before he was cleared to practice on Wednesday. Smith said those tests occurred Sunday-Tuesday at Stanford Hospital. Under new league guidelines regarding concussions, players must be asymptomatic, both at rest and after exertion, have a normal neurological examination and normal neuropsychological testing, and get cleared to return by both team doctors and independent neurological consultants.
The league is more sensitive to concussions with recent medical evidence linking them to dementia-like diseases later in life. Indeed, several former 49ers who passed away this year, running backs Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson and center Forrest Blue, were suffering from dementia. The brains of all three players have been sent to Boston University, which is studying the connection between sports-related concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Smith, however, said the recent focus on concussions did not make him more sensitive to the issue. "I think you play this game long enough, it's something you deal with," he said. "Hitting is a part of it. I dealt with it in college. You deal with it as a pro as well."
Smith wasn't the only 49er to play with an injury in the second half of Sunday's game. Fullback Moran Norris was in on four plays after injuring his fibula in the first half, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. Because of that, Roman said, Norris lived up to his nickname, "War Daddy."
Rookie Bruce Miller, who has yet to play an offensive snap this season, will fill in on Sunday. "We're excited to see (him)," Roman said. "He's having a great week of practice."
What may have been the play of the game Sunday officially never happened at all. The 49ers had seemingly forced another Cowboys punt at the end of the first half, but outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks was flagged for lining up in the neutral zone and the Cowboys got a do-over. On it, Tony Romo hit Miles Austin for a 53-yard touchdown.
Asked whether Brooks was, in fact, off sides, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio today had a one-word answer: No. But his expression and the way he said it could fill volumes...
-- Matt Barrows