It's not clear exactly when the injury was sustained, although it is certain that Smith suffered it during the latter part of the 2012 campaign as the 49ers marched toward the NFC title.
Last year, Smith was a dominant force on one of the best defenses in football, amassing 19.5 sacks in the regular season, a franchise record for a team that dates back to 1950. However, Smith was nothing more than a footnote in the postseason, rendered shockingly ineffective. Smith failed to earn himself even one sack in three playoff games.
Now, Smith continues to fight back from surgery, something that remains a work in progress for the youngster. He remains in-tune with everything going on, studying while he can't be on the field playing at full-speed. Per the Mercury News:
"I watch film, see plays, see what I did right," Smith said of last season. "I've got more plays in me."
In his two NFL seasons, Smith has taken the league by storm. In that span, Smith has made a pro bowl, been named to the first-team All-Pro squad, and accumulated 33.5 sacks. No player has ever had more sacks in their first two seasons than Smith, with Reggie White and Derrick Thomas coming in second and third.
Of course, Thomas and White are in the Hall of Fame, something that Smith wouldn't mind being a part of.