Jim Harbaugh spoke in an interview with KNBR this morning from London and said he is optimistic Aldon Smith could return this season. The Pro Bowl OLB has been spending time in rehab on indefinite suspension since playing in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
"Overarching the scheme of things I'm hopeful for Aldon personally," Harbaugh said in an interview. "I think he is on track and I know he is treating one day at a time. That's how we're looking at it too. They're doing everything today as good as possible."
The 49ers have been playing both Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier in place of Smith. Skuta has been starting with specializing in coverage and run stopping while Lemonier has been a primary pass rusher. The role of Ahmad Brooks has been in a dual role of both coverage and pass rushing with Smith being out.
It was previously reported by ESPN that Aldon Smith would not be returning for the 2013 season. Besides being in rehab after being arrested for a DUI in September, he is facing with three charges for the possession of assault weapons from a house party incident in 2012.
The 49ers hope that he fixes not only his football career, but his life after these incidents. Smith set a single-season franchise record in his second season with 19.5 sacks, passing Fred Dean's total.
Smith could be facing a long suspension with his actions off the field due to the NFL's policies. It's uncertain what could happen to him beyond the 2013 season. He is currently on the Non-Football injury list and can return when he and the team desire to for this year.
"Hopefully we'll see him soon," Harbaugh said. "I'm speaking as his coach and teammate that we support him and miss him. Hopefully we see him soon."