Justin Smith injury more severe than reported

Without getting too wrapped up talking about the smack-down the Seattle Seahawks laid on the 49ers last Sunday night, let’s all agree on one thing: Justin Smith was heavily missed.

And while Smith is certainly itching to get back onto the field, new information about his injury make his return seem, well, a little less likely.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported today that a team source confirmed that No. 94’s “elbow injury” is in fact the result of a torn triceps muscle sustained during Week 15.

A 49ers spokesman said Thursday a bone spur became detached when Smith’s triceps tendon tore, Barrows said. The spur is still inside Smith’s left elbow.

If that doesn’t sound devastatingly painful, nothing does.

It is believed that Smith sustained the injury during the third quarter of the 49ers’ highly-anticipated and widely-watched Sunday night matchup against the New England Patriots. Smith would try to return in the fourth quarter, only to remain sidelined then miss Week 16’s game in Seattle.

Barrows said that the injury would likely require off-season surgery and that Smith and the team hope he can play through the pain and contribute in the postseason.

Playoff football with a sharp piece of bone floating around in your elbow? Doesn’t sound like my kind of party. But if Smith can hack it, that would be super; the Niners’ d-line just isn’t the same without him.

Smith has 66 combined tackles, 47 total tackles and 19 assists, in 14 games played for the 2012 regular season.

The 49ers head to Arizona this week to face the Cardinals; a win which would bring them closer to securing a first-week bye in the playoffs.