49ers coach Jim Harbaugh diagnosed with irregular hearbeat, hospitalized
Suddenly, that concussion Alex Smith suffered on Sunday seems like the least of the 49ers' medical problems.
After complaining of feeling abnormal on Wednesday night, Jim Harbaugh was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and is currently at Stanford Hospital. Doctors only disclosed that they'd perform a "minor procedure" today. Harbaugh will miss Thursday practice, but is expected back Friday.
49ers special teams coach and assistant head coach Brad Seely is filling in during Harbaugh's absence.
"Coach Harbaugh is not at the facility today under doctor's orders," the 49ers said in a prepared statement to ESPN. "He is having a minor procedure done at Stanford Hospital today for an irregular heartbeat. We anticipate that he will be back at the facility tomorrow, but do not have any further information to share at this time."
Note that the statement says Harbaugh is expected "back at the facility" Friday. The statement does not specifically say he will resume his full head coaching duties.
Harbaugh, you've perhaps noticed, is an excitable fellow. At only age 48, he's already got a whole career's worth of post-game handshake shouting match controversies on his resume. It's not easy for a guy like Jim Harbaugh to "just relax" during the NFL regular season.
More than any player, Jim Harbaugh is the Most Valuable Niner to this organization. Without Harbaugh, these 49ers aren't these 49ers anymore. Alex Smith, Frank Gore, and Patrick Willis may be very, very good -- but those guys went 6-10, 8-8, 7-9, and 5-11 respectively in the four seasons before Harbaugh's arrival. Without Harbaugh, the 49ers aren't the 49ers -- they're just 53 guys.
49ers players have heard encouraging news. Punter Andy Lee told CSN Bay Area, "They said it wasn't serious and it shouldn't be a big deal." Our thoughts are for Harbaugh, his family, and a speedy and safe return to the sidelines.