It’s not a total coincidence that the Patriots comeback last night happened when one of the 49ers key players was on the sidelines.
Defensive tackle Justin Smith suffered what was described as an elbow injury, and missed a significant chunk of the second half. After going to the locker room for X-ray and getting his left arm wrapped, he tried to come back, but wasn’t able to finish.
Smith told Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com he’d have an MRI today when he returned to the Bay Area.
“I’ll see on MRI, and we’ll go from there,” Smith said. “I’ll do anything I can to play.”
Smith has played 188 consecutive games, the longest active streak among defensive tackles.
His replacement, Ricky Jean Francois, had a sack late in the game that helped them preserve the win.
“It’s next man up,” Smith said. “Ricky is a heck of a player and he came in and made a heck of a play. It was a huge play, a big turning point in the game.”
That’s nice, but if Smith’s out for any amount of time, it’s a huge blow for the 49ers defense, not only for his own contributions, but for the way he frees up outside linebacker Aldon Smith in the pass rush.