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49ers DL Justin Smith inactive for Sunday night vs. Seattle

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith is one of the most important players on the NFL's second-ranked defense. He doesn't have outlandish stats, but the work he does in the interior of the line of scrimmage allows the linebackers to rack up plenty of league-wide recognition.

Unfortunately for San Francisco, the elbow injury that he suffered last week will keep Smith out of Sunday night's matchup vs. the Seahawks.

Smith hurt himself in the third quarter of last week's win vs. the Patriots. After he underwent an MRI last Monday, the possibility of a torn triceps muscle was ruled out. Other than that, all we really know is that Smith has a hurt elbow.

Although the Patriots made a furious comeback attempt without Smith in the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn't seem worried about Smith's replacements.

"I thought the guys stepped in and did some really good things," Harbaugh said Monday. "Ricky [Jean Francois] did a really nice job, and I thought our guys stepped up. Really, the chances we had to get off the field didn't come from that position. We made some errors elsewhere."

It's the first time since 2001 that Smith will miss a game -- and only the second time in his 12-year career.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.

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