Adam Schefter is reporting 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith will not play in the team's Sunday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks. Smith injured his elbow in the 49ers win over the Patriots last week, leaving the game early in the second half and not able to return to the game. Smith sat out practice all week, and was listed as questionable by Coach Harbaugh.
The loss of Smith is a big one for SNF, but hopefully will give the team enough time to get him ready for the playoffs. Depending on how today goes, it will be interesting to see if they play him next Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, but they need to win one of these two remaining games (or have the Seahawks lose next week) to clinch the NFC West. It sounds like he is out until the playoffs, but we'll see how this all plays out.
Assuming Smith is in fact a no-go Sunday evening, Ricky Jean-Francois will likely get the start in his place. RJF can handle the defensive end role, but we'll see what kind of physicality he will bring to the table. RJF is solid in his own right, but he'll need to bring his A+ game in place of Cowboy.