Report: Smith's suspension could be shortened

According to a report, outside linebacker Aldon Smith could have his nine-game suspension shortened.

Leading into their tilt against the Broncos Sunday night, a report surfaced saying Aldon Smith could be back sooner than anticipated.

The team's All-Pro pass rusher, who has two games remaining on his league-issued nine-game suspension, could be back as soon as Nov. 2's game against the St. Louis Rams, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Smith was suspended prior to the season for violating the league's substance abuse and personal conduct policies. He was slated to return for Nov. 16's game against the New York Giants.

The 49ers have a bye following Sunday night's game against the Broncos. If Florio's report is correct, Smith could be back in the team's next game against St. Louis, or possibly in New Orleans against the Saints Nov. 9.

San Francisco is also expecting inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman to return at some point before the end of the regular season after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in last January's conference title game in Seattle. Patrick Willis, who will be out with a toe injury Sunday, says he expects to return after the bye week.

The 49ers entered the week with the league's No. 2 ranked defense, despite playing without Bowman and Smith.

With 42 sacks in 43 career games, Smith became the quickest player to 30 sacks (27 games) in NFL history after getting drafted with the 7th-overall pick in 2011.

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