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NFL roundup: Harbaugh 'just glad to be out here'

The SportsXchange

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh returned to the team Friday, a day after having a minor procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat.

Harbaugh said he felt better during a meeting with the media after Friday's practice.

"Definitely good to be back," Harbaugh said. "...Just glad to be out here."

Harbaugh will be on the sideline Monday night as the 49ers host the Chicago Bears on Monday night.

Harbaugh had a cardiovert, a procedure that returns the heartbeat back to a normal rate, on Thursday. He also had it done 13 years ago when he was playing for the San Diego Chargers.

He said the procedure will not limit him.

"Going about everything as normal," Harbaugh said. "Yeah, had a little irregular heartbeat. I've had it before."

He said he knew something was not right on Wednesday night when his heart rate was faster than usual. He said he did not hesitate to take his doctor's advice to have the operation.

After visiting the hospital Wednesday night, Harbaugh returned for the cardiovert Thursday morning and was released shortly afterward.

He said doctors told him the irregular heartbeat was not stress related. He was just told to cut back on caffeine and eat healthier.

Harbaugh attended practice on Thursday but only as an observer. He was not involved in coaching the team.

He said his brief absence should not affect his preparation for Monday's game.

"Missed (Thursday) basically and tried to catch up on that last night at home and today," Harbaugh said. "Feel like we'll be caught right up soon."

---San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has practiced on a limited basis this week as he looks to recover from a concussion he sustained during last Sunday's 24-24 tie with the St. Louis Rams.

It is not known if he will play Monday night against the visiting Chicago Bears, but coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Friday he continues to improve.

"Yeah, seems like things are progressing as it does," he said. "And then the same thing we've always said is, again, it's in the doctor's hands and they'll evaluate him as the week goes. There seems to be some progress."

If he is not cleared to play, Colin Kaepernick will make his first NFL start.

---Jason Campbell will start for the Bears in Monday's game at San Francisco in place of injured quarterback Jay Cutler.

Campbell, who signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal to back up Cutler, has 70 career starts with Washington and Oakland. He said he was told Thursday that he would start this week.

"It feels good to get back in there and play, but you never want to have the opportunity to play because of someone's injury." Campbell said. "But we understand the position we play, those things occur sometimes.

"To have the opportunity to prepare all week, to do the drills, and do all the passing game and the run game with the guys, it's a little bit different when you haven't been in there at the beginning of the season, you're just kind of taking scout-team reps to now get those reps in practice," Campbell said. "Not just for me but for the offense to have a feel for what I do and what I like to do. We just go from there."

Cutler suffered a concussion in the first half of last week's loss to Houston and Campbell replaced him, completing 11 of 19 passes for 94 yards.

"Last week's game was good for me knowing I have to play this week, to get those reps against a really good defense in Houston, and get your feet wet and get moving again," Campbell said. "To get those reps was huge."

Campbell knows it won't be an easy assignment this week facing the 49ers defense.

"You have to let it hang out in a game like this," he said. "We have all the respect in the world for the 49ers and what they do, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It's a big part of the reason why they were in the NFC championship game a year ago. Utmost respect."

Teammates had said Thursday the offense wouldn't change much without Cutler in the starting lineup.

That's a far cry from the 2011 season, when the Bears were left to turn to Caleb Hanie with Cutler out with a hand injury for the final six games. Chicago finished 1-5 and limped to an 8-8 overall record.

"He's the next guy up," wide receiver Brandon Marshall said of Campbell. "If you look at what happened to the Bears last year, that's why he's here. He has a big arm and he has a great feel for the game."

---Rookie Nick Foles will start in place of Michael Vick at quarterback Sunday for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vick suffered what coach Andy Reid described as a "significant" concussion last week and was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, according to multiple reports Friday. Vick hasn't practiced with the team this week.

Foles, a third-round pick from Arizona, will make his first NFL start. He replaced Vick last Sunday when the injury and completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Dallas Cowboys.

---The search for a missing man ejected from Thursday night's Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins game ended in tragedy.

A 26-year-old Rochester, N.Y., area man was found dead Friday morning face down in Smoke's Creek near Shadow Lane near the stadium in Orchard Park. N.Y., The Buffalo News reported.

The man's brother reported him missing after he left the stadium following the ejection, apparently because of intoxication. Police located him through signals from a cell phone. Authorities said an Erie County Sheriff's helicopter was called to assist about 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Orchard Park police are investigating.

---Dallas running back DeMarco Murray is working his way back from a foot injury, but Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called him "very doubtful" for Sunday's game against Cleveland.

Murray, who has missed four games with the injury that happened during an Oct. 14 loss to Baltimore, was limited at practice this week and wasn't on the field Friday, NFL Network reported.

The second-year pro had said earlier this week that he felt good about his chances of playing Sunday against the Browns. Now he can only hope he's ready for the next game.

The Cowboys have a quick turnaround for their Thanksgiving day game against Washington.

Murray has rushed for 330 yards and one touchdown this season.

---Tight end Aaron Hernandez will not be available again this week for New England.

Hernandez, who hasn't played since the Patriots victory over the New York Jets on Oct. 21, is still bothered by an ankle injury and will be on the sideline Sunday when the Patriots face the Indianapolis Colts, NFL.com reported Friday.

The low ankle sprain occurred during week two against Arizona. Hernandez has played in one of the Patriots' past six games.

In the four games he has played this season, Hernandez has 17 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

---The New Orleans Saints listed running Darren Sproles as questionable for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Sproles has missed the past two weeks after undergoing surgery on a hand that was injured in a loss to Denver in week eight. Interim coach Joe Vitt said Friday that Sproles experienced some swelling in the hand.

If Sproles plays Sunday, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael indicated to the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the Saints could use a four-man rotation with Sproles, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas.

---Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon hinted Friday that he'll be ready to play Sunday against Philadelphia.

Garcon is listed as questionable on the Redskins' injury report with a torn ligament in a foot, but he told The Washington Times that things are looking up.

"I should be good to go on Sunday," Garcon said.

After watching Garcon in practice this week coach Mike Shanahan said he expects Garcon to be available Sunday. Garcon said the foot is still sore, but reports have been good.

The injury has limited Garcon to playing in only three games this season. He has eight catches for 153 yards and a touchdown.
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