The 49ers had a welcome face back in uniform at practice on Thursday.
Defensive lineman Justin Smith, out since December 16th with a torn triceps that will require surgery, took part in individual drills with the 49ers during their afternoon practice. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports that Smith was wearing a black brace on his elbow to protect the injury.
Smith is expected to make every attempt to play in the 49ers’ first playoff game, he said he’d be “ready to roll” last week, and Thursday’s appearance is a step in the right direction. With more than a week to go until they take the field, Smith has a lot of time to test his arm on the field and see how it responds to the work.
The 49ers defense was not the same without Smith on the field, so his presence and ability to play near his usual level will be a big factor in the 49ers’ chances of advancing in the postseason.