The only hurdle reportedly in the path of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is a so-called “contact” test, which as Jay Glazer of FOX reported on Sunday will entail hitting Smith with a pad in the helmet and monitoring him for concussion symptoms.
Though it’s unclear when that test will occur (or whether it already has), a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Smith intends to play on Monday night against the Bears, and that it would be a surprise if he doesn’t.
There’s a chance Smith could be inclined to do whatever he has to do to suppress any mild symptoms he may experience when he’s hit in the head with a pad. That’s an obvious extension of the warrior mentality; not only will players hide concussion when they happen, but they’ll say whatever they have to say to stay on track to return from one — especially when not playing would mean giving the player’s hand-picked successor a chance to show that he’s ready to do some successing.
The 49ers plan to say at some point on Monday whether Smith will play, wisely hoping to take full advantage of the lingering uncertainty as to whether it will be Smith or Colin Kaepernick on Monday night.
UPDATE 9:13 a.m. ET: If you had “surprise” in the pool, congratulations. Doctors have prevented Smith from playing.