Troy Smith is 49ers' starter ... for now; Alex Smith not ruled out

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- For now, Troy Smith is the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. That could change in the next few days if Alex Smith is healthy enough to go by Sunday's game with St. Louis.

But that seems like a longshot.

Coach Mike Singletary said Troy Smith would take all the snaps with the first-team offense in Wednesday's practice. He didn't rule out Alex Smith taking back his old job if his separated, non-throwing left shoulder has improved enough to play against the Rams, but Singletary said Alex Smith still hadn't been medically cleared to play since getting hurt in a loss at Carolina on Oct. 24.

"If Alex were healthy, I think right now he'd still be the quarterback," Singletary said. "He threw a little bit the other day but we just have to be smart about him as well. Alex is smart enough to know that the worst thing he can do is go out there and play with a hurt shoulder and worsen the injury."

Troy Smith rallied the Niners to a 24-16 win over the Broncos in London on Oct. 31 -- and the team certainly wants to see if he can do it again. San Francisco is coming off its bye week.

Troy Smith ran for a late touchdown against Denver and hit Michael Crabtree on a 28-yard score with 7:23 left. Frank Gore added another TD on a 3-yard run with 3:47 remaining.

Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State, was 12 for 19 for 196 yards after a slow start. Singletary is confident he knows enough of the playbook to lead the Niners.

Singletary doesn't care that he's just 6-foot and 217 pounds -- small by NFL quarterback standards.

"I put it this way: You look at Michael Vick, he's not the ideal size of a quarterback. You look at Drew Brees and he's not the ideal size of a quarterback," Singletary said. "To me, I'm the last guy that's going to look at somebody's size."

Alex Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick out of Utah, has completed 143 of 242 passes for 1,554 yards and nine touchdowns with nine interceptions and 13 sacks. He has a subpar 75.0 quarterback rating.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.