49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

November 14, 2012
Back in black: Alex Smith cleared for non-contact work


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


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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