Alex Smith has an appointment with a neurologist today, and that doctor will determine whether Smith or backup Colin Kaepernick plays Monday against the Bears.
That neurologist -- who is independent from the team -- will compare data from baseline neurological exams Smith took in the offseason with the tests taken this week. The neurologist must clear Smith before he can resume non-football activities. From there, he'll take part in non-contact drills and then rejoin full practice.
Jim Harbaugh would not offer a deadline by which Smith would have to be cleared if he is to play against the Bears. Harbaugh reported that Smith had a "good night's sleep last night and the symptoms were positive today."
Harbaugh said he didn't know whether the big hit Smith absorbed by Jo-Lonn Dunbar contributed to Smith's issues Sunday, but that team doctors checked Smith after that play and that he was cleared to continue to play.
Harbaugh said Smith later reported that his vision became blurred after the fourth-and-one sneak later in the same drive. Smith went on to play six more snaps after that sneak and looked sharp in throwing two completions to Michael Crabtree.
When he went to the sideline, he told Harbaugh he had blurred vision. Shortly thereafter Smith was pulled from the game. Would he have wanted Smith to have removed himself from the game upon experiencing the symptoms, Harbaugh was asked?
"Yeah, we talked about it," Harbaugh said. "What he expressed was, he came up and said he had blurred vision, and he felt that it would go away. And he came over to the sideline and sat down and felt like it was something that would go away but it didn't. So he told me he had blurred vision, and that's when we made the move."
Harbaugh gave Kaepernick high marks from Sunday, especially considering the circumstance -- his first real NFL outing, entering the game down a touchdown. He also said that, like any NFL quarterback, there were some throws Kaepernick should not have made
There's a possibility that Kaepernick, if he played Monday, would face Bears backup Jason Campbell, who filled in for Jay Cutler Sunday, after Cutler suffered a concussion against the Texans. The Bears lead the 49ers by a half game in the race to secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Harbaugh revealed that Kyle Williams would have been the emergency backup had something happened to Kaepernick in the game. No. 3 quarterback Scott Tolzien was not active on Sunday but would be if Smith can't play. Harbaugh said the play calls were not made to protect Kaepernick after Smith went out. "We didn't put any limiter on Kaep," he said.
-- Matt Barrows