I reported on Total Access: #49ers OLB Aldon Smith underwent surgery for a torn labrum a few weeks ago. Was on Injury Report for 5 weeks.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2013
In a report by Kareem Copeland of NFL.com, it says Smith was listed on the Niners' injury report during the latter part of the season, specifically from Weeks 12 to 17, with the torn labrum joint in his shoulder.
Until now, we had no knowledge that Smith underwent surgery to repair the injury.
Smith did compile 19.5 sacks during the regular season, but he failed to record a single sack in the last three games of the regular season and in all three playoff games for the Niners.
From Weeks 12 to 17, Smith totaled 4.5 sacks, and his flaming out in the sack department can be linked with this injury. That made it all the more important that Smith did get this surgery in order to be healthy and ready for next season.
There is no known timetable for his return as of yet, but Rapoport's tweet points out the surgery was done "a few weeks ago," so that should leave enough time for Smith to return fully healthy for the start of the season if all goes well.
The Niners have a great defense all around, but Smith is by far this team's best pass-rusher and their defense is far and away better when he's getting to the quarterback.
As Copeland wisely pointed out in his piece, one has to wonder how much better the Niners would have fared if Smith was healthy for the Super Bowl.