San Francisco 49ers star inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman is arguably the game’s best ILB, as he is a beast against the run and is so athletic in coverage that he can even hold up against guys in the slot. Bowman recorded 145 tackles, five sacks, nine passes defended, four fumbles forced, and two interceptions last season and was arguably the best player on the team in 2013. He also suffered a gruesome ACL tear in the NFC Championship game that also had an awful call on that play, and Bowman needed surgery on his left knee to repair his ACL and MCL.
It’s only been about two weeks since Bowman went under the knife, but there’s already a sliver of hope that one of the league’s toughest and most athletic players could potentially play in Week 1. That doesn’t sound likely at all, though, and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said that the most realistic date for Bowman’s return is sometime in the middle of the season. But Harbaugh also phrased his response so that it sounds like there’s more of a chance that the star LB will be back sooner than that date, as opposed to spending more time on the shelf than expected. That’s definitely not a surprise, as the Penn State product is capable of that kind of a quick recovery.
Harbaugh said, via CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco , “He’s a supreme athlete, a world-class athlete among world-class athletes. The way he moves, his strength, his powers of healing. I wouldn’t count him out of anything. Realistically, halfway through the season, something like that would be more realistic. But I never underestimate NaVorro Bowman.”
Bowman is a beast and it’s too early to make any calls on his status, but it sounds like the 49ers will end up placing him on the reserve/PUP for the first six weeks of the season before evaluating him from there. It’s always important to have an impact player back as soon as possible, but the 49ers are so deep and talented that they should actually take things as slowly as possible.