The San Francisco 49ers have seen two key inside linebackers depart over the last month, but they are optimistic about the return of another. NaVorro Bowman is continuing to rehab back from his blown out knee, and both general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Tomsula are optimistic about his recovery. I suppose it should not surprise us that they would be optimistic, but at least it's out there.
Tomsula briefly spoke about the topic on Wednesday during the NFC coaches' breakfast.
"I'm not a doctor, I'm not going to tell you I know exactly where he's at and all that. I know his rehab is going real well, and all the information I have is extremely positive from doctors, trainers and Bow.
Trent Baalke was asked about Bowman during an impromptu media session he had earlier this month. Chris Biderman asked Baalke how Bowman was doing, to which Baalke responded:
Real good. I don't know if you've seen him the last couple times that he has popped in, but you can tell he is working. I think he feels good. He's really starting to feel like it's coming back to where he wants it. And that's always the most important thing. I've said this before - there is the physical response to coming back from an injury, and then there is the psychological, and sometimes they don't coincide with one another. Sometimes physically you're ready, but psychologically you're not. But I think he's at a real good place right now.
It is no surprise to hear such positive comments, but it is still good to hear. We are 14 months past the injury, so progress would be expected. We'll get a better handle on Bowman's status as the offseason workout program gets going. Bowman is allowed to rehab at the facility now, and the first two weeks of the workout program allow for strength and conditioning work, and more rehab for those that need it.
After those first two weeks, we get into classroom and on-field work. Even though it is non-contact and no pads, it will be a good step for Bowman. However, the real test will be when the team gets to OTAs and minicamp. Speed picks up a little more and in the past, the team has kept injured players sidelined. If Bowman is not participating in OTAs and/or minicamp, it is not the end of the world, but it would not be the best news. Training camp is the real telling point, but the latter half of the offseason workout program will give us some hints.