Alex Smith was in a black jersey for the start of 49ers practice this afternoon, an indication that he has been cleared by an independent neurologist and has already passed the workout stage of the NFL's post-concussion protocol. Both are good signs that he will play in Monday night's game against the Bears, who look to be without their own starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, who also had a concussion Sunday.
Smith still must be cleared for a full practice, which could happen as early as Thursday. He suffered his concussion during a 12-play drive Sunday vs. St. Louis that spanned the first and second quarters. He received at least two blows to the head on the drive.
The first occurred when he was hit from behind by Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. The second happened six plays later when he dove head first into a pile of players on fourth and one. Smith remained in the game and threw a touchdown pass five plays later. But he began experiencing blurred vision and was removed when he notified coaches.
Smith also suffered nausea and headaches that night, although the symptoms subsided Monday morning. He saw the neurologist Monday afternoon. That doctor compared results from baseline cognitive tests Smith took over the offseason with current results before clearing the 49ers quarterback. Smith also suffered a concussion in Week 2 last year that was not diagnosed until after the game. He played the following week.
In other injury news, running back Frank Gore, guard Mike Iupati and linebacker Aldon Smith -- all of whom were nicked in the Rams game -- were on hand for the start of practice.
-- Matt Barrows