SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has been sent to the hospital for a “minor procedure” after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.
The team said Harbaugh was having the procedure done at Stanford Hospital on Thursday. The 49ers anticipate Harbaugh will be back at the team’s facility Friday, though it’s unclear in what capacity.
Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Brad Seely oversaw team meetings and the afternoon practice.
The 49ers said Harbaugh visited with doctors Wednesday night. No further details were immediately announced.
Players were informed by Seely during the morning walkthrough and said the news caught them by surprise.
“He seemed fine to me. He actually sat right behind me in meetings,” Willis said. “He seemed fine. I didn’t know anything was wrong. But like I said, we know he’s going to be alright.”
The 48-year-old Harbaugh won NFL Coach of the Year in his first season with 49ers after coming over from Stanford. He led San Francisco to a 13-3 record in the regular season and to the NFC championship game, where the 49ers lost in overtime to the New York Giants.
The NFC West-leading 49ers (6-2-1) host the Chicago Bears on Monday night. And suddenly, quarterback Alex Smith’s recovery from a concussion is San Francisco’s second-biggest injury concern.
“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.”
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP