Justin Smith injury: 49ers DL returns to practice Thursday

USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith began doing individual practice drills on Thursday after sitting out with an elbow injury.

San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith returned to the practice field on Thursday, and for the first time in a few weeks went through individual drills after suffering an elbow injury in mid-December, according to CSN Bay Area.

Smith partially tore a triceps tendon that was a part of a bone spur in a game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 16. On Thursday, he worked out before the 49ers' full practice and wore a brace on his left elbow. Smith said last Friday that the injury will require surgery, but he was planning on putting it off until after the postseason. He has been adamant that he'll give it a go the postseason opener on Jan. 12.

The Pro Bowl tackle missed San Francisco's final two regular-season games -- a loss to the Seattle Seahawks and a win against the Arizona Cardinals -- of 2012 because of the injury.

He had 66 tackles and three sacks on the season.

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