San Francisco 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 in Santa Clara, Calif., 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 Bears (7-2) on Monday night.
‘‘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.
Urlacher: Focus on knees
Brian Urlacher wasn’t backing down: Chicago’s star linebacker would still lie to cover up a concussion.
Urlacher raised a few more eyebrows 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.
‘‘I don’t know how they can tell in the first place,’’ he said. “I think the helmets aren’t very good. I wear an old helmet and Lance [Briggs] wears an old helmet. We don’t get concussed. . . . They’re saying they’re better but they must not be because people are getting more concussions now.’’
Urlacher would like to see more focus on knees. Specifically, he’d like to see cut blocks banned.
‘‘But that seems to be OK with the NFL, so they’re not too concerned about safety, obviously,’’ he said. ‘‘They are concerned about long-term concussions, but immediately they’re not concerned about your knees or your ankles or anything like that. I think that should be an issue. Concussions are taking care of themselves.’’
Isn’t there a big difference between a head injury and knee injury? ‘‘Huge,’’ Urlacher said. ‘‘Because a knee injury puts you out for a season, a concussion you may miss a game or two. Huge difference.’’
Then, he acknowledged the long-term impact of head injuries.
‘‘That’s why you have to judge,’’ Urlacher said. ‘‘If you don’t want to play if you get concussed, then don’t play. It’s your career. It’s your life.’’
Cutler misses practice
Cutler missed practice and his playing status remains in question because of a concussion. Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler continues to improve, but it’s not clear if he’ll be ready to play at San Francisco on Monday night. If Cutler can’t play, Jason Campbell will likely start. Cutler needs to be cleared by team physicians and independent neurological consultants before he can return. The same goes for teammate Shea McClellin and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who also suffered concussions last week . . . Elvis Dumervil, who hasn’t practiced all week, plans to test his sprained left shoulder at practice Friday in hopes he can play Sunday against the Chargers. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end had a similar injury to the same shoulder that sidelined him for two-plus games last season, but Dumervil said this injury is ‘‘nowhere near’’ as serious or as painful as that one was . . . Chiefs offensive lineman Jon Asamoah will miss Sunday’s game against the Bengals after surgery on one of his thumbs. Wide receiver Jon Baldwin has not been cleared following a head injury sustained in last week’s game against Pittsburgh, and tight end Jake O’Connell (ankle) is also expected to miss the game . . . Browns starting cornerback Joe Haden was not at practice because of an oblique injury . . . Falcons receiver Julio Jones missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision Sunday.