49ers

49ers Mailbag: What's the impact if Justin Smith can't play?

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49ers Mailbag: What's the impact if Justin Smith can't play?

The next Biggest Game of the Year is coming up Sunday in Seattle. Let's open the 49ers Mailbag to see what's on the minds of readers . . .

How negatively will the defense be affected if Justin Smith can't play? (@jw49ers)
Ricky Jean Francois did just fine while filling in for Smith on Sunday night against the New England Patriots. But let's not forget that after Smith left the lineup, the Patriots -- after an interception -- scored touchdowns on drives of 73, 86, 66 and 92 yards.

Smith does not have the flashy stats, but don't let that mislead you. He is still the player on the 49ers that the opposition accounts for more than anyone else. He pushes the pocket in the passing game, and he keeps interior offensive linemen from getting to the second level to put bodies on NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis.

The specifics of Smith's left elbow injury are not known. But, clearly, this is something more serious than a bump or a bruise. After all, Smith's elbow injury kept the toughest, most-durable 49ers player on the sideline during a time that the team saw its four-touchdown lead slip away.

If Justin Smith doesn't play, do you think Aldon will be as effective? (@AndrewM49ers)
No. It's as simple as that. Without Justin Smith on the field, the Seahawks can place more focus on Aldon Smith, who can expect to see nothing but double-teams on Sunday night. Aldon Smith can still have a good game, but it'll be a lot more difficult.

Is there any chance Manningham plays Sunday night? (@branteboy49)
Mario Manningham has been practicing on a limited basis, and he looks a lot better. But he didn't even make the trip to Foxboro, Mass., last week. His availability for Sunday night is questionable.

Is Moss finally comfortable with his subtle playmaking role? No longer the center of attn even while the media thrust him there? @MiriYum
Who said Randy Moss wasn't comfortable in the first place? Early in the season he told me that he was having a great time with the 49ers. His teammates really seem to enjoy his company. He and Colin Kaepernick have developed a nice rapport, too. I haven't heard even a whisper of dissatisfaction with anything concerning Moss.

What are the chances David Akers is still on the roster come playoff time? (‏@GodsSonNasir)
The chances are very, very good. Have you seen Mason Crosby with the Green Bay Packers? His kicks look horrible, and the Packers have held onto him because they don't believe there's anyone better out there. Akers is striking the ball very well, but he's been missing. The 49ers have come this far, so I think they'll keep Akers around. The alternative is to bring in a veteran -- either Nate Kaeding or Billy Cundiff -- known for huge playoff failures.

NOTE: The Miami Dolphins signed Kaeding on Friday and placed kicker Dan Carpenter on injured reserve.

John Lynch concerned about 49ers' top pick Thomas

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AP

John Lynch concerned about 49ers' top pick Thomas

On April 27, the 49ers selected Solomon Thomas with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

As of Thursday afternoon, he remains unsigned.

49ers general manager John Lynch addressed the media on Thursday and was asked about the defensive lineman's status.

Thomas missed most of the 49ers' offseason program because NFL rules stipulate that rookies who have not completed their undergraduate degrees are ineligible to join on a full-time basis until after their schools' final classes of the spring semester.

Stanford's late schedule put Thomas a little behind schedule.

“We have our iPads, so I’ll be able to watch film from that,” Thomas said in mid-May. “I talk to Josh (Garnett) quite a bit, and he’ll give me advice on how to go through this process – how to stay in touch, just keep learning along the way and keep progressing along the way.”

Reuben Foster will be ready when pads go on at 49ers training camp

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AP

Reuben Foster will be ready when pads go on at 49ers training camp

UPDATE (12:40pm on Thursday) -- The 49ers posted the following video to Twitter:

***

Reuben Foster is ready to rock and roll.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan provided an update on the rookie linebacker on Thursday:

According to Shanahan, no players will be on the PUP or NFI when camp opens.

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote in mid-June:

Foster, the No. 31 overall pick in the draft, was the subject of national reports that he would require another surgery and could miss his entire rookie season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, citing a “well-placed source,” that Foster’s surgery “didn’t take.”

After the 49ers drafted him, Foster disputed the reports.

“That’s not accurate at all,” Foster said in April. “I’m fine. I’m on schedule.”

Foster sustained the tear of the labrum in his right shoulder during Alabama’s national semifinal game against Washington. He played in the championship game against Clemson with the injury.

He underwent surgery on his rotator cuff that forced him to sit out drills at the NFL scouting combine in February. Foster was sent home from Indianapolis after an argument with a hospital worker while he was waiting to undergo a physical.

The 49ers' first preseason game is in Kansas City on Friday, Aug. 11.