The last thing the San Francisco 49ers need right now is second-year linebacker Aldon Smith missing extended time with a leg injury. His rookie season had a ton of silver linings, with the big take-away being that this man is going to be a pass-rushing monster for a long time. Initial quickness, a killer instinct and monster length make him a guy you want to send on every down in every situation.
It would be a shame for him to lose any of that initial burst due to a leg injury or something similar. But what would be the biggest shame is him being put on the shelf for an extended period of time during the regular season due to being rushed back in the preseason.
There aren't many players who enter there second year in the NFL and don't require some looks in the preseason. If the 49ers have ever had such a player, it's Smith. For the first couple snaps against the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason opener, Smith looked a step ahead of every player on the field. He tossed aside left tackle Matt Kalil and made Christian Ponder run for his life. He made the other players on the 49ers' defense look slow in comparison as he got a jump on the snap every time.
Sure, San Francisco would love to evaluate how Smith is doing standing up and not just rushing the passer, but in the end, he's a guy you want going after the quarterback more often than naught. The 49ers know he's good for rushing the passer and should not even consider bringing him back at all this preseason if there's any doubts about his leg injury.