49ers Face Own Mini-Griffin Crisis

49ers Face Own Mini-Griffin Crisis

Justin Smith will play for the 49ers on Saturday, which seems like good news for the 49ers and their fans, but could be bad news for Smith's left arm, which hangs by a thread, in a manner of speaking.

The left triceps tendon of the 49ers' super-valuable defensive tackle is partially torn. The tear forced Smith to miss the last 2 1/2 games and caused doubt that he would be available for the playoffs. And this is Justin Smith, a.k.a. Cowboy, a player so tough that he'll be making mauling tackles two weeks after he dies.

Questions arise: By playing, does Smith risk doing further damage that might endanger his career, since one-armed pass rushers are in small demand? Who has the final say-so on whether Smith will play - Smith, coach Jim Harbaugh, or the team doctor?

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