Pro Football weekly

Comment | Print |

Smith's return for 49ers is far from a given

About the Author

Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

Recent posts by Dan Arkush

Baylor WR Williams in first-round conversation

Posted Feb. 22, 2013 @ 2:26 p.m.

Thompson: Packers not worried about leadership void

Posted Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:26 p.m.

Seahawks GM likes 'win-win' QB situation

Posted Feb. 21, 2013 @ 6:53 p.m.

Old-school Arians feeling young at heart

Posted Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:51 p.m.

Packers RB Harris looks like a real keeper

Posted Jan. 11, 2013 @ 1:32 p.m.

Related Stories

49ers acquire WR Boldin from Ravens

Posted March 11, 2013 @ 5:57 p.m.

San Francisco 49ers: 2013 team needs

Posted March 08, 2013 @ 9:35 p.m.

49ers release PK Akers

Posted March 06, 2013 @ 6:11 p.m.

Three takeaways from Smith deal

Posted Feb. 28, 2013 @ 3:48 p.m.

Report: 49ers trade QB Alex Smith to Chiefs

Posted Feb. 27, 2013 @ 12:15 p.m.

Old-school Arians feeling young at heart

Posted Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:51 p.m.

Reid: Chiefs open to trading top pick

Posted Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:34 p.m.

Eagles hire Gamble as VP of player personnel

Posted Feb. 13, 2013 @ 2:16 p.m.

Crash killed Delanie Walker's aunt, uncle

Posted Feb. 06, 2013 @ 7:56 p.m.

Super Bowl XLVII heroes and goats

Posted Feb. 04, 2013 @ 2:15 p.m.
Posted Dec. 30, 2012 @ 3 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Even though they don’t make football players any tougher than Justin Smith, our 49ers sources are not about to bet their mortgages that the defense’s emotional leader and anchor of the D-line will be recovered sufficiently enough from the partial tear of the left triceps tendon he suffered in the Week 15 win over New England to participate in the playoffs.

“It really depends on his pain threshold,” one daily team observer said. “Not playing in the regular-season finale will help, and so would, obviously, getting a first-round bye. But he really has a serious injury that is definitely going to require surgery.

“I would not be surprised if he does not play at all.”

If that ends up being the case, the consensus is that it would be a major loss the Niners could ill afford.

“At the beginning of the season, if you had to pick the one guy they would miss the most due to a serious injury, it would have to have been Justin,” the observer said. “They certainly didn’t react well to his absence in the second half of the New England game and the Seattle loss, and a lot of that was psychological.”

In Smith’s absence, the onus is on fourth-year pro Ricky Jean Francois to fill a huge void.

“He’s actually bigger than Justin (295 pounds, compared to Smith’s 285 pounds), so he adds a little bulk,” the observer said of Jean Francois. “And after looking bad on that early TD run by Marshawn Lynch in the Seattle game, he actually settled down and played pretty well (six tackles).

“But where the defense really gets hurt is in the pass rush, because of Smith’s great ability on stunts to free up (starting ROLB) Aldon (Smith) for sacks.

“That’s gone without Justin.”

Comments ()


ABOUT TRUST ONLINE