Justin Smith hasn't played in nearly a month, but the San Francisco 49ers believe their anchoring defensive lineman will be ready for Saturday night's divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
Smith has worn a brace on his left elbow since returning to practice last Thursday. Harbaugh said he believed all along the Pro Bowl defensive end would be ready for the playoffs after tearing his triceps Dec. 16 against the New England Patriots, noting Smith showed "significant improvement" over the past week.
Suiting up is one thing. Taking on two linemen, rushing the passer and absorbing punishment is a different story. This is one of the game's grittiest players, but we expect the Packers to challenge him early and often.
We'll know out of the chute if Smith is ready for action.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.