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NaVorro Bowman activated to 53-man roster, place Vance McDonald on injured reserve

The 49ers surprised us on Tuesday, activating NaVorro Bowman to the 53-man roster. They also placed Vance McDonald on injured reserve. We break down what it means.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers pulled a bit of a shocker on Tuesday, announcing that they have activated NaVorro Bowman to the 53-man roster. They had to decide whether to activate him or place him on the season-ending injury list, and I think most of us anticipated it would be the latter. Instead, he rejoins the 53-man roster and can continue progressing back from his knee injury. We are awaiting word on the corresponding roster move.

Fooch's Update: The team announce the move, and that they placed Vance McDonald on injured reserve.

This activation does not mean he will return to regular practice yet. He could do that, but as we saw with Glenn Dorsey, he also could continue the rehab side of things, and be inactive on game days. The 49ers have three weeks of practice left, and Vic Fangio said he would need at least a couple weeks of practice before he could get back on the field. My guess is the team figures the playoffs are a slim possibility, so they might as well activate him and have him just in case. If they get eliminated in any of these final three games, they can keep him inactive, or just place him on onjured reserve.

I am a little surprised by this, but it would at the very least indicate he is continuing to make progress from his knee injury. Even if he does not play in any of the final three games, it is a good sign that he has not had a setback, and is progressing along.