(Sports Network) - Uncertainty surrounds Monday night's marquee matchup between the NFC North Division-leading Chicago Bears and the frontrunners in the West, the San Francisco 49ers.
Concussions have put the status of both starting quarterbacks in question while the Niners' head coach, Jim Harbaugh, was sent to the hospital last Thursday when doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.
Harbaugh underwent what was described as a "minor procedure" and was back at work on Friday preparing for the Bears.
"They had to do a little procedure, cardiovert," Harbaugh said after getting back to work. "Get it back normal. It's amazing they can do a procedure like that."
Cardioversion is an electric shock that gets the heart back into a normal rhythm and Harbaugh said it wasn't the first time he's had to have something done to his heart.
"About 13 years ago, I had a cardio ablation for the same thing," the 49ers coach said. "An atrial flutter is what I have."
Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Brad Seely handled the 49ers practice on Thursday and would have presumably been in line to run things if Harbaugh was unable to recover quick enough for Monday night but the coach is ready to go against the organization he played seven of his 14 NFL seasons for.
"If you're a football player, it's a game you live for. If you're not, it's another day at the office," Harbaugh said. "I hope it's everything they live for."
On the field San Francisco's Alex Smith was belted twice in last Sunday's 24-24 tie with St. Louis, ultimately exiting the game in the second quarter after suffering blurred vision.
Smith did enough to pass the NFL's ImPACT testing protocol and was able to practice in a limited fashion by Thursday, but did not pass a concussion test and is not medically cleared to play.
The Bears' Jay Cutler, isn't doing as well either after being walloped during a helmet-to-helmet collision with Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins late in the first half of the team's 13-6 loss to the Texans on Nov. 11.
Dobbins was fined $30,000 earlier this week for the hit and Cutler has been ruled out of Monday's game.
On paper Chicago seems a little better prepared to withstand the loss of its starting quarterback since veteran Jason Campbell is the caddy for the Bears while untested but super athletic Colin Kaepernick is Smith's backup for San Francisco.
Campbell, who has significant starting experience in previous stops with Washington and Oakland, was unable to lead Chicago on a game-tying drive in the waning moments of its loss to Houston, however.
A steady rain and two play-making defenses made points hard to come by in that one. Houston and Chicago combined for six turnovers in the opening 30 minutes, with the Texans forcing four of them.
Campbell connected on 11-of-19 throws for 94 yards against the Texans while Matt Forte ran for 39 yards on 16 carries.
"We're 7-2," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "We're going to get ready for San Francisco. We have an extra day to get ready for them. There's a lot of football left to go."
Two normally trustworthy kickers misfired in overtime and the end result was the NFL's first tie in nearly four years during the Niners last game
Both David Akers and Greg Zuerlein both missed field goals in overtime as San Francisco and St. Louis Rams played to NFL's first tie since Nov. 16, 2008 when the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals finished their contest knotted at 13-13.
Akers, who sent the game into overtime with a 33-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in regulation, sailed his kick wide left from 41 yards out midway through the extra session.
Zuerlein initially nailed a 53-yard attempt on St. Louis' ensuing series, but a delay of game penalty was called. The rookie kicker, who split the uprights from 60 yards away earlier in the year, pushed it right from 58 yards out.
Smith was 7-of-8 for 72 yards and a touchdown before exiting the contest with the concussion. Kaepernick came on and threw for 117 yards on 11-of-17 efficiency and added 66 yards on the ground for San Francisco, which had won four of its previous four games coming in.
"The way I feel it was a good football game, it was a hard fought game, it came out even," Harbaugh said.
The 49ers hold a slim 31-29-1 edge in their all-time series with the Bears, including a 21-12 advantage at home. This game also marks the fourth matchup between the two clubs on Monday Night Football, and the first since 1991.