49ers quarterback Alex Smith has already cleared his first hurdle in returning to the field after sustaining a concussion in the 49ers' 24-24 tie with the Rams. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Smith got a good night of sleep and that his symptoms were "good."
The first step in getting cleared after a concussion is the absence of symptoms. For Smith, those included blurred vision following a successful quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 from the Rams' 47 in the second quarter. Once symptoms abate, the player then must undergo a series of tests from an independent neurologist.
Smith, apparently clear-eyed and clear-headed, was scheduled for a neurology appointment on Monday. Should Smith pass the tests, he will need to engage in a non-contact practice and then a contact practice before he gets cleared to play.
The 49ers will not update the media on Smith's progress.
Meanwhile, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was impressed with backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick
's performance. After starting 2 for 7, the second-year quarterback settled down to lead two fourth-quarter scoring drives. He beat the Rams' defense temporarily with his arm and his legs, rushing for 66 yards on eight carries including a 7-yard touchdown scamper. He also finished by completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards.
"He can make plays with his feet; he has a very strong throwing arm," Harbaugh said. "I thought both of those things showed up yesterday. It was a positive the way Colin handled himself. He was confident; he was not scared at all."
It was the first time Kaepernick had been thrust into an injury replacement role with his team trailing.
"It was a new situation for him and I thought he handled himself well," Harbaugh said. When asked about his decision-making, Harbaugh said, "He made some good ones. Like any quarterback there are a couple he would like to have back. But, overall, a solid performance."
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