From Comcast SportsNetINDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is winning his battle with leukemia.On Monday, Dr. Larry Cripe, Pagano's physician, told The Associated Press that the illness which has sidelined Indy's head coach for more than a month was in "complete remission." Cripe said a morning exam showed Pagano's white blood cell count and bone marrow tests were normal as he prepares to start a second round of chemotherapy.The doctor explained patients typically undergo three rounds of treatment to wipe out any potentially lingering cancer cells. The second round of chemo is scheduled to start later this week and will last four to six weeks, Cripe said."His (blood cell) count was great," interim coach Bruce Arians told reporters after Pagano visited the team complex Monday. "He knows that this next one (round) is going to be really tough and we're praying for him, and he's going to be fine."The latest medical update came less than 24 hours after Pagano returned to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia on Sept. 26. Pagano spent most of the next month in an Indianapolis hospital, watching two Colts games from his room. On Oct. 21, he returned home where he watched the next two Indy games. Doctors wanted to keep him in primarily sterile environments to avoid any risk of infection.On Sunday, Pagano cleared yet another hurdle when doctors allowed him to attend the Miami game in person. He watched the Colts win their third straight, 23-20, from the coaches' box and provided inspirational messages to players before and after the game."I've got circumstances. You guys understand it, I understand it. It's already beat. It's already beat," Pagano said during Sunday's postgame speech, hesitating to catch his breath a couple of times. "My vision that I'm living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and then lift the Lombardi Trophy several times. I'm dancing at two more weddings and we're hoisting that trophy together, men. Congratulations, I love all of you."Pagano's appearance Sunday was a clear indication things were going well. Cripe confirmed that in his comments Monday.On the field, things have gone well for the Colts, too. Indy (5-3) is 4-1 since Arians, also a cancer survivor, was made interim coach and the sudden spate of success has put Indy back in the playoff discussion.But as the Colts continue to shock the NFL world, Pagano's health status continues to loom large.Team officials have hung signs reading (hash)Chuckstrong in each end zone of Lucas Oil Stadium. Reggie Wayne wore orange gloves for two games, the color designated to recognize leukemia, and Arians usually wears a button with an orange ribbon between the two sides of the horseshoe on his hat.It's unclear whether Pagano will return to full coaching duties this season, though Arians made it clear he hopes that happens."Once he comes back from Round 2 and is about to head into Round 3, our goal is for him to be on the sideline Dec. 30," Arians said, referring to Indy's regular-season finale against Houston."We know what's coming, the downhill slide is yet to come," Arians added. "To me it's kind of like talking to him about the playoffs this week; one day at a time, one play at a time. There's some down time coming, but it's great to see him here."
Programming note – Sharks-Jets coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 30-16-2, 62 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Jets: 22-24-4, 48 points, 5th Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The Sharks won their fifth straight game on Monday in Colorado, 5-2, thanks to four goals from Patrick Marleau. San Jose is 7-2-0 overall in its last nine games, and can move back into first place in the Pacific Division ahead of idle Anaheim with a win tonight.
Winnipeg will also be playing the second of a back-to-back, after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Ducks at home on Monday. The Jets are 2-4-1 in their last seven, including a 5-2 loss to the Sharks at SAP Center on Jan. 16.
***Winnipeg should be getting impressive rookie Patrik Laine back for the game, according to local reports. He’s missed the last eight games with a concussion suffered on Jan. 7. The 18-year-old Calder Trophy candidate has 21 goals and 37 points in 42 games.
San Jose could be without Joonas Donskoi, after the winger was unable to finish the game against Colorado after taking a heavy hit from Andreas Martinsen in the first period.
***Brent Burns scored another goal last night, reaching 20 on the season. He’s the fastest defenseman to reach that mark since Kevin Hatcher in 1992-93. In his last 10 games, the Norris Trophy favorite has 15 points (5g, 10a).
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Patrick Marleau. It was a historic night on Monday for the Sharks’ all-time leading scorer, as he became the first NHL player in nearly 20 years to score four goals in a single period. He struck for three in a row to start the final frame, upping the San Jose lead to 4-1, and capped it off with a late breakaway conversion. His 16 goals suddenly puts him in a tie with Joe Pavelski for second on the team.
Jets: Mark Scheifele. The 23-year-old center is Winnipeg’s leading scorer with 46 points (21g, 25a), and he brings a five-game point streak into tonight’s game (2g, 5a). He had a late goal against San Jose on Jan. 16 (thanks to Martin Jones’ ill-advised decision to try and shoot the puck into an open net), as well as an assist on an early score by Josh Morrissey.
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Nic Petan – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Patrik Laine
Shawn Matthias – Adam Lowry – Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev – Andrew Copp – Chris Thorburn
Josh Morrissey – Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom – Jacob Trouba
Mark Stuart – Paul Postma
Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) is questionable. Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.
Jets: Patrik Laine (concussion) and Drew Stafford (lower body) are day-to-day. Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body), and Ben Chiarot (lower body) are out.
“For a while there we were up and down, winning some games, losing some games. Now we’re putting some wins together and separating ourselves from the teams behind us.” – Marc-Edouard Vlasic
When the 49ers’ next general manager and coach settle into their offices in Santa Clara, among their first decisions will be to determine which of the team’s pending free agents are worth keeping around.
Team’s executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe have a window to speak with Super Bowl-bound Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan beginning Friday evening and concluding Saturday night.
During that time frame, the 49ers hope to determine which of the team’s general manager candidates is the best fit with Shanahan to collaborate all of the organization’s football decisions. Shanahan is not allowed to be hired officially until after Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5.
The 49ers have exclusive negotiating rights with all of their scheduled free agents through March 6. The window for open negotiating for all teams with all free agents runs from March 7 at 9 a.m. until March 9 at 1 p.m. The free-agent signing period begins after that.
Here is a look at the 49ers’ scheduled free agents:
QB Colin Kaepernick: He is in a different situation. Kaepernick is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract. If he does not, it would seem likely the 49ers would release him to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay. Statistically, Kaepernick had his best season since his first full season as a starter. The question is whether a new coach and a new GM, who are given the power to tear down the roster, would want to stick with the same quarterback?
QB Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert got his opportunity to start the season, but his subpar play prompted Chip Kelly to bench him after five games. Toward the end of the season, Gabbert had sunk to No. 3 on the depth chart behind Kaepernick and Christian Ponder.
QB Christian Ponder: He turns 29 next month and has not played in an NFL regular-season game since 2014, when he attempted 44 passes for the Minnesota Vikings. There is not much evidence to support the argument for a contract offer.
QB Thad Lewis: He’s already 29. And he has not attempted a pass in an NFL regular-season game since 2013, when he appeared in six games with the Buffalo Bills. His season ended after the first exhibition game with a torn ACL.
RB Shaun Draughn: He is a good special-teams player and a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield, but Draughn averaged just 2.6 yards on 74 rushing attempts as Carlos Hyde’s primary backup. The 49ers will look to upgrade this position.
WR Quinton Patton: The 49ers need more playmakers on the outside. It’s doubtful a fresh set of eyes will come to the 49ers and place a high priority on retaining Patton, who caught 37 passes for 408 yards with no touchdowns while making 14 starts.
WR Jeremy Kerley: When slot receiver Bruce Ellington sustained a season-ending hamstring injury in the exhibition season, the 49ers responded with a trade to acquire Kerley. He turned out to be the team’s only consistent pass-catching threat with 64 receptions for 667 yards and three TDs. He was also a safe option on punt returns. Kerley is definitely worth considering for the next regime.
WR Rod Streater: The veteran receiver, who the 49ers acquired in a trade just before the start of the regular season, was underutilized. The 49ers will unquestionably consider all upgrade opportunities via free agency and the draft.
TE Jim Dray: A late-season pickup due to injuries, Dray does not figure to be a priority to re-sign.
G Andrew Gardner: Gardner came to the 49ers late in the season due to injuries because he was already familiar with Kelly’s system. When he saw significant playing time in the season finale, it was his first action since appearing in three games with the Eagles in 2015.
K Phil Dawson: He turned 42 on Monday, but he can still kick. With extra points moving back to 33 yards, accuracy is more important than ever. There should be a spot for Dawson in the NFL – if he chooses to continue his career.
NT Glenn Dorsey: He will turn 32 in August, and his body appears to be breaking down. He battled injuries throughout the season after returning from a severe knee injury in 2015. When healthy, he’s still a good player. But can he remain healthy for an extended period of time?
DL Tony Jerod-Eddie: He was near the bottom of the depth chart throughout the season, as the 49ers deactivated him for seven games. He does not figure to be a priority for a new personnel department.
DL Chris Jones: Claimed off waivers from Miami for the final six games of the season, Jones played very well in his brief stint with the team. He deserves a chance to show what he can do in training camp – with some team.
LB Michael Wilhoite: Through all the problems the 49ers had at inside linebacker, Wilhoite was unable to hold onto a starting job. This position will be one of the areas the organization must address with the uncertainty of NaVorro Bowman’s attempted return from a torn Achilles.
LB Gerald Hodges: The organization is trying to build a new culture. Hodges left the team short-handed for the game at Atlanta due to his violation of team rules.
LB Nick Bellore: He came to the 49ers because of his special-teams play. He ended up starting 10 games in place of Bowman, and things did not go well for the 49ers’ defense during that time.
* * *
In addition, guard Andrew Tiller, running back DuJuan Harris, and defensive backs Marcus Cromartie and Chris Davis are scheduled to be restricted free agents. The 49ers can retain contract rights to those players with minimum tenders.