Justin Smith, Aldon Smith on pace after surgeries
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith and linebacker Aldon Smith are working back from offseason surgeries, and general manager Trent Baalke expects each to be at full strength and ready for the start of training camp this summer.
Running back Kendall Hunter, who underwent surgery late in the season for a torn left Achilles, also plans to be full go by training camp after he recently resumed sprint work. He was injured in a Nov. 25 win at New Orleans.
Justin Smith underwent surgery shortly after the team’s 34-31 Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens on a partially torn left triceps muscle, which he played with late in the season while wearing a bulky brace. Baalke said Smith has no restrictions and has resumed weight lifting and other offseason training. The team’s voluntary conditioning program began Monday and has near full participation.
Aldon Smith needed a shoulder operation to repair a torn labrum. He finished his second NFL season with 19.5 sacks, 66 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception.
“They’re working hard. Justin has no restrictions, no limitations to my knowledge,” Baalke said Wednesday. “Aldon is coming along as well. He’s probably not as far along. They’ll be fine.”
Hunter stayed in the Bay Area for the offseason to rehab, not pushing himself past what the training staff suggests at this stage. Hunter said it’s most likely he won’t participate in organized team activities and minicamps in order to be 100 percent for the start of training camp.
“It’s going good. We ran this whole week,” Hunter said. “I feel I know what I can do and I’ve always been a motivated person. I don’t want to rush it. Yeah, it’s coming. I’m always encouraged.”
While Baalke prepares for 13 picks in next week’s draft and perhaps selecting a safety in that mix, he said the team hasn’t ruled out signing free agent defensive back Charles Woodson. Yet any progress probably wouldn’t happen until after the draft depending on who the Niners select and whether the player could make an immediate impact. Depth at safety is a need, Baalke said.
“We had a great meeting with Charles,” Baalke said. “We feel he can still play the game. That’s something we’re going to continue to look at. Charles is someone that we’re still interested in.”
The 36-year-old Woodson was released by the Packers on Feb. 15 in a salary cap move and has indicated he would like to land with a Super Bowl contender at this stage of his career.
Woodson’s Green Bay team lost at San Francisco in the NFC divisional playoffs, and the 49ers went on to reach their first Super Bowl in 18 years.
Among those not in attendance for offseason conditioning this week is newly acquired wideout Anquan Boldin, who Baalke said is “handling some family things and still transitioning with the move” since getting traded by the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
“We’ve got all but six or seven who are here working right now,” Baalke said.
The 49ers are pleased with quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s offseason as he prepares for his first full season as a starter as a third-year pro.
Kaepernick, whose Super Bowl start was No. 10 of his career, spent seven weeks in Atlanta training with sprinters and long jumpers to increase his speed.
“Trying to be the complete package,” Kaepernick said. “Anything you can do to get faster.”
That’s one area the 49ers hoped to see improvement from the young play-caller.
“Just continue to hone in on the techniques, the footwork, the mechanics, the lower-body mechanics that are so critical at that position and the playbook,” Baalke said.