Alex Smith Injury: 49ers Must Be Careful with Veteran QB

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Alex Smith Injury: 49ers Must Be Careful with Veteran QB
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

With the NFC West still up for grabs, the San Francisco 49ers must be careful not to push recently-concussed quarterback Alex Smith after a disappointing tie against the St. Louis Rams in Week 10.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Monday Night Countdown that "the 49ers have not given up hope that (Smith) could play next Monday night against Chicago," per Rotoworld.com.

The Seattle Seahawks have won two straight games since losing back-to-back games to the 49ers and the Detroit Lions. They are still within reach of surprising the 49ers, who have generally not looked as good as last season.

In that sense, it may be tempting to ignore any post-concussion symptoms that may emerge throughout the season for Smith. That includes Smith ignoring them himself. 

Let us be frank: While the NFL is trying to be more careful about monitoring concussions, that doesn't mean it has a 100 percent success rate these days. After all, Smith reportedly experienced blurred vision, then stayed on the field for six more plays before tossing a touchdown to receiver Michael Crabtree in Sunday's game against the Rams, per Gwen Knapp of SportsOnEarth.com.

While Smith doesn't have a longstanding history of concussions, that doesn't make this any less dangerous. The fact that he stayed in the game for a few more plays with blurred vision is not a great model for the league. Smith, being the competitive player that he is, wasn't going to rush to the sidelines right away, as is the custom for most NFL players these days. It was up to the team to monitor him right after the big hit.

That rings true this week as well. Yes, the 49ers would love to have Smith under center against the Bears on Monday night instead of second-year understudy Colin Kaepernick, but you also don't want to throw Smith into the game against a ferocious defense when he's not 100 percent. That could lead to his health being jeopardized even more as the team attempts to reach the Super Bowl.

One can only hope that the 49ers and Smith do the right thing if the veteran quarterback isn't feeling right before Monday night's game.

 

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