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49ers hope Smith helps sack numbers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Aldon Smith said Tuesday playing Sunday against Carolina is “crossing his mind” after spending five weeks in a treatment center.

The 49ers will not push the linebacker, but there is no doubt the 49ers need him back on the field.

The 49ers have had a difficult time finding a consistent pass rush. Even though the defense is a big reason they won all five games while Smith was away from the team. The 49ers had five sacks in the past four games. San Francisco had five sacks in their first game without Smith, but consistency has not been sustained.

The 49ers had seven sacks in the three games that Smith played. He accounted for 4.5 of the seven sacks. He has 38 sacks since entering the NFL in 2011. It is the second most in the NFL in that span despite the fact he’s missed five weeks.