The San Francisco 49ers returned to practice this afternoon, as they begin preparations for their divisional round matchup in nine days.
Matt Maiocco and Eric Branch sent out some pertinent tweets I thought I would drop in here
Jim Harbaugh and Brad Seely closely watched David Akers and Billy Cundiff take turns booting FGs at start of practice. #49ers— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) January 3, 2013
Branch and Barrows followed up by tweeting that Justin Smith is wearing a plastic brace on his left arm. The 49ers do not have to issue an injury report until next week, but if they did issue one today, I imagine Smith would show up as a "limited" participant in practice. If Smith is able to go a week from Saturday, it will likely be with this brace in place. He will be dealing with limitations, and we'll answer the question of just how good a less than 100% Justin Smith is compared to other defensive linemen.
Feel free to drop any additional tweets into the comments as more information comes out. The 49ers players were off to start the week, and now get to start their preparations for next Saturday. The coaching staff stuck around the last few days to start the game-planning process. The 49ers played the Seahawks and Packers earlier this season, so they likely spent a little more time checking out RGIII and the Redskins. I remain convinced the Packers will have their way with the Vikings, making the Seahawks-Redskins game a moot point, but obviously the 49ers cannot ignore that game.