SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was sent to the hospital Thursday for a “minor procedure” after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.
The team said it anticipates Harbaugh will be back at the 49ers facility Friday, though it’s unclear in what capacity. No details about the procedure were given.
The NFC West-leading 49ers (6-2-1) host the NFC-North leading Chicago Bears (7-2) on Monday night at Candlestick Park.
“It’s one of those things that, like Coach Harbaugh always tells us, he’s tougher than a $2 steak,” 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said. “We know he’s going to be alright. We know we have a bunch of great coaches here that keep everything on track, and we’re going to practice today as if he was here.”
Team spokesman Bob Lange said no incident had occurred at the facility. Instead, Harbaugh had visited with doctors Wednesday night after feeling ill, and they advised him to have the procedure done at Stanford Hospital.
Players were informed of Harbaugh’s hospitalization by assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Brad Seely during Thursday morning’s walkthrough. Seely also oversaw team meetings and the afternoon practice.
Players said the news caught them by surprise.
“He was pretty good. We were slapping hands and talking yesterday,” 49ers safety Dashon Goldson said of Harbaugh. “I didn’t see anything. He showed no emotions. He didn’t show anything like that.”
Added Willis: “He seemed fine to me. He actually sat right behind me in meetings. He seemed fine. I didn’t know anything was wrong. But like I said, we know he’s going to be alright.”
Urlacher says again he’d lie about concussion
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Brian Urlacher wasn’t backing down. Chicago’s star linebacker would still lie to cover up a concussion.
Urlacher raised a few more eyebrows on Thursday when he reiterated what he told HBO earlier in the year, and it didn’t seem to matter to him that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is recovering from that same injury.
His stance remains the same.
“Yeah,” he said when asked if he would lie to cover up a concussion.
He acknowledged it would be tough to cover up a concussion while questioning whether newer helmets really were cutting down on such injuries, and he added that the NFL needs to do a better job protecting players from knee injuries.
Urlacher said he suffered a concussion against Denver in 2003 but didn’t miss any games that season.
Julio Jones misses 2nd straight practice
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury on Thursday and will be a game-time decision against Arizona.
Jones was injured in last week’s loss at New Orleans.
Coach Mike Smith did not say which ankle is bothering Jones.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is rehabbing a sprained right ankle and hopes to avoid missing his third straight game.
Defensive end John Abraham (back), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (thigh), receiver Harry Douglas (ankle), tight end Tony Gonzalez (shoulder), linebacker Stephen Nicholas (groin), running back Michael Turner (groin) and defensive tackle Vance Walker (ribs) were all limited in practice.