Smith should be ready to face Giants

October 8, 2012, 9:12 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith was seen at the 49ers' practice facility on Monday -- on the players' day off -- showing no signs of an injured middle finger on his right hand.But coach Jim Harbaugh said during his weekly Monday press conference that any time there's something wrong with a quarterback's throwing hand, it's a worry."Yeah, that's very much a concern if that happens," Harbaugh said. "And we'll see how it is. Alex is . . . it's well-documented how tough he is. He talks about it not being a big deal. We'll see."The 49ers (4-1) have a showdown set for Sunday at Candlestick Park against the New York Giants (3-2), the team that defeated the 49ers in last season's NFC championship game.
Considering what Smith has overcome to get to this point -- he leads the NFL with a 108.8 passer rating -- it's difficult to imagine that a sprained finger will stand as much of an obstacle.
After all, it was nearly two years ago that Smith's stock was at an all-time low. Fans at Candlestick booed him and chanted for David Carr as the 49ers opened the season with a fifth consecutive loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.On Sunday, Smith threw for 303 yards in a 45-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills. It was the first time he exceeded 300 yards passing in a 49ers victory. The last time he passed for 300 yards? It was that forgettable 2010 game against the Eagles.
"Yeah, it seems like a long time ago," Smith said Sunday. "It's a completely different world. I give credit to the guys around me. I think those guys are playing great and make my job easy."Smith remained with the 49ers. And the 49ers remained with Smith. And there are no regrets on either side. Smith signed a three-year, 24 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason. The deal can top out at 11 million annually, which is still a bargain for any starting quarterback who is playing at a high level.
"(I) can't tell you how much respect I have for him that he is played so well, handles himself, does all the things that kind of look back on and say, 'Man, I wish I would've done as good a job as he has done on and off the field in everything he does in his approach to the game,'" Harbaugh said.Harbaugh, who played 14 NFL seasons, and Smith followed similar statistical career paths through their first six seasons before they were united last season. In Harbaugh's ninth professional year, he was selected to his only Pro Bowl while with the Indianapolis Colts."He's better," Harbaugh said of Smith. "He just is. He's a better player."

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