49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 10, 2012
Harbaugh on Aldon Smith: We dodged a bullet

aldon99.jpg

Aldon Smith, who flirted with an NFL rookie record for sacks last season, left Friday's game in the first quarter with a hip injury and did not return. Smith left the stadium with the assistance of two canes, but coach Jim Harbaugh said it could have been worse.

"Still waiting," he said when asked about Smith. "Preliminary -- looks like we'll be alright. Looks like we dodged a bullet there."

Smith appeared to suffer the injury on the first play of the Vikings' second drive, a three-yard run by Toby Gerhart to Smith's side of the field. Smith was cut down by a blocker and got to his feet slowly.

He remained in the game for another play, but then jogged gingerly to the sideline. He had a pronounced limp while walking into the training room. The 49ers characterized the injury as a hip bruise.

Undrafted rookie Kourtnei Brown filled in at right outside linebacker on the first play that Smith missed. Veteran Parys Haralson, however, soon replaced him with the first-team defense.

Finding depth at outside linebacker was a goal for the 49ers in the offseason. They made it through the 2011 season with only three players at the position but admitted it was a gamble. They drafted two outside linebackers in April, but both players, fifth rounder Darius Fleming and seventh rounder Cam Johnson, did not dress for the game.

Smith finished with 14 sacks last year, coming within a half sack of Jevon Kearse's rookie record set in 1999. Smith had a quarterback hurry on the drive before he was injured.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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