SANTA CLARA, Calif. – There's still no official word about who will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but Troy Smith said he's preparing as if the job is his – without making any assumptions.
"I would like to believe so," Smith said Monday as the 49ers returned to practice after a week off for the bye, "but the way I deal with certain situations, especially something that's as tender and special as this is, is that patience is a virtue. Good things come to those who wait."
Smith is waiting, and so is seven-game starter Alex Smith, but neither has heard from coach Mike Singletary about who will start against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park. Singletary, who was not available Monday, won't make an announcement until Wednesday at the earliest.
It's possible Singletary will put off making a call in order to give Alex Smith more time to recover from a separated left shoulder he suffered Oct. 24 against the Carolina Panthers. While most players left town last week to return to their offseason homes, Smith stayed behind to continue rehab work.
Smith met with team doctors Monday but said he still hasn't been cleared to play. He hasn't tried to throw since he was injured and only began lifting weights on Monday. But if he's well, he said he expects to get his job back.
"That's my expectation, that's my mindset," he said. "It's not my decision, (but) that's what I'm getting ready for."
Singletary seemed to indicate last week that he was leaning toward Troy Smith, and he even told Smith after the 49ers' 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos in London, "Let's not be a one-game guy." But he hasn't made it official. Smith was 12 of 19 passing for 196 yards, one TD and no interceptions against Denver.
"We just prepare all the time as if we're starting, as if I'm starting," Troy Smith said. "But no word yet. Just continuing to get better, continuing to learn the offense. That's pretty much my life right now."
Smith said he spent the week in Cleveland with his family, which included his mother, his sister, his niece, nephew and daughter Jesse. But he didn't hear from Singletary during that time, so he remains in the dark about his status.
"I prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he said. "It's kind of boring and it's kind of the same week in and week out, but that's exactly what I do. I try to stay even keel because you never want to put yourself in a situation where you get into an extreme high or an extreme low. Try to stay pretty much even keel at all times, but you never know."
Alex Smith said he'll be available to help his teammate if Troy gets the call Sunday. He said he doesn't view the situation as someone trying to take his job.
"This is an opportunity for him," he said. "Opportunities come at different times, and it can be awkward and difficult. But I'm not going to backdoor him or slight him or not give him help if I can. I'm not that type of guy."
SIGNINGS: The 49ers added wide receiver Lance Long and running back DeShawn Wynn to their practice squad and released linebacker Eric Bahktiari and running back Jehuu Caulcrick. Long has played previously with the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs and caught 20 passes in seven games with the Chiefs last season. Wynn was a seventh-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2007 and has also played for the New Orleans Saints.