SANTA CLARA -- Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith returned to the 49ers' practice field Thursday to take part in individual drills for the first time since sustaining a partially torn left triceps tendon Dec. 16.
Smith participated in drills prior to practice while wearing a black brace on his left elbow. Smith sustained the injury when a bone spur containing triceps tendon became detached early in in the second half of the 49ers' game against the New England Patriots.
The 49ers open the playoffs Jan. 12 at Candlestick Park. Unless he experiences a setback, Smith is expected to attempt to play in the 49ers' divisional round playoff game.