SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jim Harbaugh expects Alex Smith to be medically cleared to play by Saturday.
Still, the 49ers coach did not announce Friday who will start at quarterback at New Orleans in two days.
Harbaugh says it serves no purpose to his team and organization to let anybody know what his plan at quarterback is for Sunday's game against the Saints.
Harbaugh also refutes reports earlier this week that he already has told Smith and Colin Kaepernick that Kaepernick will continue as the team's starter after making his first NFL start during Monday's rout of the Chicago Bears.
The coach indicates his stance on the quarterback situation is unlikely to change before the 49ers (7-2-1) meet the Saints (5-5) in a rematch of last year's NFC divisional playoff game won 36-32 by San Francisco.
We could set our watch here for another 15 minutes and you could keep asking questions and the answers will still be the same, Harbaugh said Friday. We feel like there's no competitive advantage for us to release that information. We just do not get into what the role's going to be, how we're going to use them, and the specifics of that. It's unorthodox. So be it. That's the way we are going to go about it.
Smith had started 28 consecutive games for the 49ers before he suffered a concussion during the team's 24-24 tie with St. Louis on Nov. 11. Smith practiced all of last week in a non-contact black jersey, but the team declared him out Monday morning for the Bears game later that evening after he was evaluated by team medical director Dr. Dan Garza.
San Francisco 49ers
New Orleans Saints
4:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX