Justin Smith's likely return big factor for 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Even at less than full strength, Justin Smith's presence on the San Francisco defensive line is enough to instill plenty of fear in opposing offenses.

Or even his own teammates, for that matter. Running back Frank Gore endured his toughest training camp yet last summer while facing his defensive teammates each day -- Smith, in particular.

Smith is expected to return to the field for Saturday night's NFC divisional playoff game against Green Bay at Candlestick Park, and oh how his teammates will welcome back "The Cowboy" as they try to chase down Aaron Rodgers and Co.

Smith missed the final two regular-season games with a partially torn left triceps muscle, which is now covered in a protective brace for practice.


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP--NFL

AP-WF-01-09-13 2223GMT

NBC15 615 Forward Drive Madison, Wisconsin 53711 Business: 608-274-1515 Newsroom: 608-274-1500
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 186255272 - nbc15.com/a?a=186255272
Gray Television, Inc.