SANTA CLARA -- Justin Smith's arm injury might not be serious enough to sideline him for Sunday's game at Seattle, based on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's comments Tuesday morning on KNBR 680-AM.
Asked if Smith could practice this week, Harbaugh responded: "Everyone affectionately refers to Justin Smith around here as 'The Cowboy.' I expect we'll see The Cowboy.
"Knowing what I know of Justin Smith and the situation, yeah I think the Cowboy will be around. Cowboy will be saddled up, ropin' and ridin'.
" If it's humanly possible, The Cowboy will be out there, ropin' and ridin'. "
Smith started his 185th consecutive regular-season game Sunday night but couldn't finish it after sustaining a third-quarter elbow injury. The New England Patriots took advantage of his advantage by rallying from a 28-point deficit to tie the score at 31, but the 49ers still pulled out a 41-34 victory.
Smith declined to reveal the severity of his injury -- or even which arm, though he glanced at his left elbow -- during a post-game interview. He took an MRI exam on Monday.
Smith entered Sunday's game with a team-high 77 quarterback pressures and 52 quarterback hits, along with three sacks. His presence has played an integral role in Aldon Smith's 19 1/2 sacks, which are tied for the league lead with Houston's J.J. Watt.
If Smith is sidelined, however, his likely replacement on the line would be Ricky Jean Francois, who came on in relief Sunday