Andy Dalton won't need surgery on his broken thumb and could play again this season.
Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand during a 33-20 loss to the Steelers on Sunday that left the AFC North up for grabs. He had an appointment with a specialist on Monday who said the injury could heal without surgery.
It's still unclear how many games he'll miss.
AJ McCarron will make his first NFL start Sunday in San Francisco, trying to make an Alabama breakthrough. A starting quarterback from Alabama hasn't won an NFL game as a starter since Jeff Rutledge in 1987, according to STATS.
McCarron won back-to-back national titles at Alabama. He missed his rookie season with a sore passing shoulder.