SANTA CLARA — Aldon Smith will return from a five-game hiatus and play Sunday when the 49ers host the Carolina Panthers, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday.

"I'm sure he'll play some," Fangio said. "We'll monitor the situation between now and then. Nothing's been set in stone."

Fangio noted that Smith's conditioning may not be enough for him to resume an every-down role.

"It'll be a fluid situation," Fangio said.

Smith was in substance-abuse treatment between Sept. 23 and Oct. 28, and he rejoined his teammates last week. Fangio said the 49ers' premier pass-rusher was a "little rusty" but is expected to return to top form "quickly."

49ers Aldon Smith talks to the media on his first day back with the team after undergoing substance abuse rehab at 49ers practice facility , in Santa
49ers Aldon Smith talks to the media on his first day back with the team after undergoing substance abuse rehab at 49ers practice facility , in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group) ( Josie Lepe )

Smith has accured 38 sacks since debuting in 2011 as the 49ers' first-round draft pick. He set a franchise record with 19½ sacks last season and had 4 ½ through the first three games this season.

"(Wednesday) had had good effort and went through a full practice," Fangio said. "We'll see how he feels and looks today. I don't anticipate any problems."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.



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