San Francisco is paying Aldon Smith his normal salary this week, with the Pro Bowl pass rusher leaving the team Sunday to begin his in-patient rehab following a second DUI arrest.
Smith, who played in Sunday's loss to the Colts, started what will be at least a month-long program, and the 49ers placed him on the Non-Football Injury list, with a special designation for substance abuse treatment. Normally a player placed on the NFI list in-season is ineligible to return, but this special designation permits Smith to come back this season.
The 49ers could also opt to pay Smith his normal wage, some other stipend, or even withhold pay entirely in this circumstance, but he is receiving his regular check, sources said. Smith, who is on a record pace for sacks through the first two years of his career, might be back around the team's bye in early November, pending his recovery and sobriety.
He asked the team to play Sunday before checking himself into a rehab facility voluntarily. The former first-round pick has been granted an indefinite leave.