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Justin Smith's likely return big factor for 49ers

Published On: Jan 10 2013 07:31:48 AM CST
San Francisco 49'ers helmet

NFL

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -

Even at less than full strength, Justin Smith's presence on the San Francisco defensive line is enough to instill plenty of fear in opposing offenses.

Or even his own teammates, for that matter. Running back Frank Gore endured his toughest training camp yet last summer while facing his defensive teammates each day -- Smith, in particular.

Smith is expected to return to the field for Saturday night's NFC divisional playoff game against Green Bay at Candlestick Park, and oh how his teammates will welcome back "The Cowboy" as they try to chase down Aaron Rodgers and Co.

Smith missed the final two regular-season games with a partially torn left triceps muscle, which is now covered in a protective brace for practice.

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