Aldon Smith's road to recovery appears to officially be underway, as Pro Football Talk is reporting the 49ers linebacker is already en route to a rehab facility. Jed York has already said Aldon would be away from the team for an indefinite period, and Ruthless Sports Guy (one of the writers at BayAreaSportsGuy.com) put together an excellent discussion of the nuts and bolts of rehab, and more. At one point RSG looked into becoming a counselor, and spent some time working at a rehab center. Definitely give it a read.
According to RSG, it sounds like Aldon would miss at least a month. The length of his absence would depend entirely on how things go at rehab, and how he handles the process.
While this is an important life issue, this obviously impacts the 49ers on the field as well. Now that he is officially departed and gone for some unknown period of time, the 49ers need to consider their alternatives at outside linebacker.
Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta are the two backups. Both looked quite sharp at times in the preseason when it came to rushing the passer. However, there were some question marks when they were attempting to set the edge against the run. Lemonier is still developing from his college work as a defensive lineman, so this is to be expected. Skuta spent most of last season at OLB, but in the Bengals 4-3. Prior to last year, he spent more of his time at middle linebacker. He's bounced around enough that he seems to have some knowledge about several positions.
Now we get to see how the pass rush is impacted, and what Corey Lemonier brings to the table. Skuta is the veteran and I suspect gets the start in the base defense, but I have to think we get a chance to see plenty of Lemonier in pass rushing situations. Given that Sam Bradford is not the most mobile of quarterbacks, this game provides Lemonier with an excellent chance to make some plays. The 49ers got some pressure on Andrew Luck, but need to find a little more consistency. A crack at Sam Bradford would hopefully help rectify that.