Defensive end Justin Smith played fewer snaps in the 2013 season, but remained a key cog in the 49ers defense as they advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
Even with a lower snap count, Smith still needed some time off this offseason. Coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn’t say exactly what is bothering Smith, but said that the veteran hasn’t been cleared for practice yet and won’t take part in this week’s mandatory minicamp. Harbaugh wasn’t concerned that the injury would linger into the summer.
“He hasn’t been cleared to practice just yet,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “He will be [cleared] for training camp.”
Maiocco adds that Harbaugh “intimated” Smith had an offseason procedure on the unnamed body part. Smith was on the team’s injury report for much of last season with a shoulder problem, which makes that a likely area for the medical staff to address before the season.
With Tank Carradine expected back after redshirting with a knee injury, the 49ers may find ways to further limit Smith’s playing time to keep him healthy and effective in 2013.