Justin Smith knows he’s going to need surgery eventually.
But the 49ers defensive tackle is hoping he’s able to play through the pain and weakness associated with his partially torn triceps tendon and get through the playoffs.
Smith told reporters Friday he’d be “ready to roll” even if the playoffs start next week for the 49ers. They could clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Cardinals and a loss or tie by the Packers, or a tie and a Packers loss.
They could use the time, as Smith needs to heal and build strength.
“Yeah, I’d be ready to play,” Smith said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “Just go with it. That’s all you can do.”
Even 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged Smith’s injury could worsen.
“Yes, I think there’s a higher risk,” Harbaugh said. “It’s something that he’ll have to have surgically repaired at the end of the season either way.”
Smith himself downplayed that risk.
“They can fix just about anything nowadays, so they told me,” Smith said. “Yeah, you’ve got to have surgery regardless.”
Smith’s listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Cardinals, and frankly, it would be foolish to play him. The 49ers need as much time for him to heal as possible, since pass-rusher Aldon Smith has been quiet since his bodyguard’s injury on Dec. 16 against the Patriots.