49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith made his return to the field with a partially torn triceps against the Packers last week and things went well.
He played on 53 of the 58 defensive snaps, held up against double teams from the Packers and made eight tackles as Green Bay’s plan to run at him mostly went nowhere. Smith’s teammates credited his return with an improvement across the board on defense and, generally, it looked like Smith was pretty close to his old self.
Smith is expecting even more this week against the Falcons. He said Wednesday that he’s more familiar with the brace he’s wearing to protect his injury and that he’s going to be more at ease on the field this time around.
“It felt pretty good for the most part, just getting used to it, playing with it. It should be even better this week after going through it and knowing how it felt and what to expect. So it should be even better this week,” Smith said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “I think there’s still a comfort level of getting used to it. Just mentally going out there and coming out of the game and knowing how it feels and felt during the game. I’ll be a lot more comfortable this week.”
There’s still a risk of further injury, one that Smith said he accepts as part of the price of playing at this point in the season. The 49ers defense is better for him rolling the dice as long as it keeps coming up seven.