49ers in no hurry to clear Smith to play


The 49ers appear to be in no rush to administer the test for quarterback Alex Smith to receive final medical clearance to be available for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.Smith must pass some form of a "contact test" -- the details of which are unknown -- before he is officially cleared to play. That test could come as early as Friday or after the 49ers arrive in New Orleans.
Smith sustained a concussion Nov. 11 against the St. Louis Rams, and he experienced symptoms last weekend that prevented him from being available for the 49ers' Monday night game against the Chicago Bears. Smith has not experienced any symptoms this week.The 49ers have not officially announced which quarterback will start. But the decision appears easy, at least for this week, due to Smith's physical condition.
Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick is expected to start Sunday against the Saints. Kaepernick and Smith have both taken practice snaps this week, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said on Thursday. Smith has been a limited participant in every practice since he sustained the concussion, the 49ers have reported.Maiocco: Familiar situation: Smith played role in 2006 quarterback switchCoach Jim Harbaugh is scheduled to address the media after practice on Friday, at approximately 1:45 p.m. Tight end Vernon Davis said he expects Harbaugh to announce a starter before the team travels to New Orleans on Friday afternoon.
Final clearance for Smith can come at any time before kickoff. It could happen at the team's walk-through practice Saturday in New Orleans after the team's medical director, Dr. Dan Garza, evaluates how Smith responds to the team's flight to New Orleans and the change in altitudes.

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