Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who suffered a bruised hip in the 49ers first exhibition game, will most likely miss the rest of the preseason. Smith was seen walking around the team facility with a cane and limp, however, he is expected to be healthy by the regular season opener.
The injury is a setback in Smith’s transition as a pass rushing specialist to an all-round linebacker. Last season Smith was mainly used on passing downs, but this season the 49ers want him to be an every down outside linebacker on the right side. The linebacker’s development will be delayed, especially if he misses all of the preseason as expected. He has already been ruled for Saturday’s game versus the Texans.
Should Smith not be available until the regular season opener, his injury and time missed will only set him back a few games. He will continue watching video and learning the position while rehabbing, so the impact from time missed will be minimal. It will take him a few games to take what he learned in the film room to applying it on the field successfully. Last season he showed he has the skills and instincts to be a great linebacker, so we can expect some good production from him after he returns from being injured.
The 49ers have the luxury of taking it slow with Smith’s injury because of Parys Haralson. As the starting right outside linebacker last season, Haralson recorded 34 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks. Smith will provide an upgrade over Haralson, but the position is in good hands until he returns.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on the injury,
I’m concerned from the standpoint that he didn’t get about 15 more plays that he would have got the other night at outside linebacker. Concerned that he’s missing a good bit of this week’s work, but long term I’m not concerned. But it is a setback in the short term.