Vic Fangio's assessment of Aldon Smith after one practice and two walk-through sessions: “a little rusty.”
“I’ve heard people say he's in a better situation than he was last year,” the 49ers defensive coordinator said Thursday. “I don't really see it that way because last year he played in three regular season games and then was gone for five weeks. (This year) he hadn't played in any regular season games and missed the first nine games. So it's been a long time since he's had action. He's rusty.”
Fangio said he hasn't told Smith or any of his outside linebackers how much Smith will play against the Giants because he hasn't made up his mind yet. Smith played just 12 snaps in his first game back after sitting out six weeks last year.
As was the case Sunday against the Saints, the 49ers could be without Dan Skuta, who had been the team's starter at right outside linebacker through the first eight weeks. Ahmad Brooks started on the right side in New Orleans while rookie Aaron Lynch started on the left.
Corey Lemonier played two snaps at outside linebacker. Chase Thomas also was in uniform but only played on special teams.
One possibility for the Giants game is that Brooks and Lynch start and play on base downs and that they, along with Smith, rotate on passing downs.
Meanwhile, inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman had an MRI on his surgically repaired left knee. The image showed that Bowman is still on track in his recovery, but no time line has been set for his return to the starting lineup.
In order to play this season, Bowman would have to return to practice Tuesday. That may occur, but it still doesn't mean that the 49ers will end up activating Bowman from the PUP list so that he can play in a game.
“I think that's a possibility,” Fangio said when asked if Bowman could end up sitting out the season. “I don't know if that's been decided or been the verdict. But I'm sure it's a possibility.”
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.