SAN FRANCISCO—NaVorro Bowman could prove the silver lining of a San Francisco 49ers offseason that has left fans reeling.
The three time All-Pro Linebacker has become one of spring’s forgotten storylines, as Bowman’s recovery from a devastating knee injury in the 2013 playoffs has been overshadowed by news of fellow inside linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland’s early retirement.
But with Willis and Borland gone, the recovery of Bowman has become of paramount importance to a Niners defense that could still be one of the league’s best if the All-Pro can return to the form that had some questioning if he, not Willis was the league’s best inside force.
Even after the 26-year-old failed to return to the field last season, Niners brass insists that Bowman did not experience any setbacks on his road to recovery. Though many recover from a torn ACL in six to eight months, Bowman’s injury was particularly devastating because he suffered the additional blow of a torn MCL.
“We’re very confident in where he’s at with his recovery,” general manager Trent Baalke told CSN Bay Area.
Though Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson set the gold standard for ACL recovery with his 2012 MVP season, there exists many a cautionary tale in the world of knee injuries, including 2012 rookie of the year Robert Griffin III, who never looked like the same athlete since after his second ACL tear in his rookie season.
Even if Bowman falls somewhere in between the recovery spectrum of Peterson and Griffin, the linebacker would provide a true shot in the arm for a San Francisco team in desperate need of something to smile about as we the new NFL year gets underway.