Justin Smith injury: 49ers DE reportedly out until playoffs

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Justin Smith's absence could have a ricochet effect on the effectiveness of the 49ers' defense.

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith, who injured his elbow last week, will not play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football, according to a tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Also according to Schefter, the Niners are focusing on getting Smith ready for the postseason and are hopeful that he will be able to make his return at that time.

Not having Smith on the defensive line has already seen its effects on other players, most notably fellow defensive lineman Aldon Smith. Justin's ability on the opposite side has allowed Aldon to run amok, sacking the quarterback at a league-leading rate with 19.5 sacks. Now, he will have that much more attention on him. How the Niners' defense adjusts will be key in keeping the hard-charging Seahawks at bay both on Sunday night as well as in the divisional race.

Justin Smith has 66 tackles and three sacks this season.

This post first appeared on SB Nation.

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