SAN FRANCISCO -- It turns out the partially torn triceps tendon in Justin Smith's left arm was more of a problem for Green Bay than it was for the 49ers defensive lineman.
No, he was not his usual game-changing self in the trenches, but his mere presence helped alter the course of the game, a 45-31 49ers victory over the Packers in an NFC divisional-round playoff game. And no, despite playing with a cumbersome brace on the injured arm, Smith said he did not let doubt or worry creep into his mind.
[INSTANT REPLAY: 49ers 45, Packers 31]
"Can't worry about that," Smith said, "you'll get your ass whooped."
Instead, in his first game since suffering the injury on Dec. 16 at New England, Smith was credited with five tackles.
"He looked good out of my eye," said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. "He was stout against the run and his legend grows. What a player."
And while the Packers did average 6.5 yards per carry, they only had 104 yards on the ground. A lot of that was because Green Bay was playing catch up in the second half and had to abandon the run after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick carved the Packers up with his 181 yards rushing.
Smith laughed when asked if he was glad he did not have to chase Kaepernick.
"That was ridiculous," Smith said. "Almost 200 yards rushing (allowed) by the quarterback? You're not going to win."
Smith, though, was taking a simple approach to his game, which makes things easier for others on the 49ers defense.
"(The arm) didn't feel much different at all," Smith said. "As you keep playing, you don't really think about it."
Besides, there's too much on the line to get caught up in it all, what with the 49ers heading to their second straight NFC Championship, either at home against NFC West rival Seattle or at Atlanta.
"A couple of weeks off, playoff atmosphere, couldn't be better," Smith said. "Made it through this one, on to the next one."