Justin Smith’s absence enormous

SEATTLE, Wa. – Justin Smith injured his elbow in the third quarter of the Patriots game last week, and he has not played since then. Without him, the 49ers have given up 70 points in six quarters.

After the 42-13 loss to the Seahawks, Jim Harbaugh said he’s not sure he’ll be back for the playoffs. He also said he doesn’t think Smith’s absence would be a factor.

Donte Whitner disagrees. He thinks if Justin Smith doesn’t come back, the 49ers have a real problem.

WHITNER: “I think it’s a big deal. I think not having Justin is a huge deal. Just a year ago he was the Defensive Player of the Year not only for what he does against the run, but for what he does against the pass. How he helps Aldon out over there also, eating up two guys, allowing him to go one-on-one. He’s a huge part of this defense. We all know it. He’s not there right now. He has an injury right now. We don’t have him right now. The guys that are in there for him and everyone else needs to pick their game up and take it to another level.”

Clearly, Whitner is right. The Niners do not need him now. They’re going to make the playoffs. As of now, no one knows what his injury is. Whatever it is, the 49ers need it to be healed in a few weeks.

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