Last week, San Francisco 49ers conducted their first OTA that was open to the media, and linebacker NaVorro Bowman did not participate. Jim Tomsula said it was a scheduled day off. Given the lengthy comeback Bowman is making, I'm sure some folks might have been at least moderately concerned.
Thankfully, a week later, things are progressing. Bowman was back at practice, as a full participant with the first team defense. He also had a chance to meet with the media during post-practice availability. His comments provided some insight into where he is at, and what lies ahead of him.
#49ers ILB NaVorro Bowman: "Trying not to worry about the knee. I think that’s the biggest challenge."— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) May 29, 2015
More Bowman: "It messes with me sometimes, but just to get out there and do something is always good for the knee." #49ers— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) May 29, 2015
Bowman: The knee will get to where it needs to be. Maybe not as fast as you guys expect, but I’m definitely going to get back to that level.— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) May 29, 2015
#49ers NaVorro Bowman hits the sled (because that is all he's allowed to punish in OTAs) pic.twitter.com/s9zp7NAGkO— Cam Inman (@CamInman) May 29, 2015
Two years ago, Mario Manningham was attempting an ACL recovery. No two injuries are alike, but socalisteph put together an interesting read on both the physical and mental aspects of Manningham's recovery. Bowman seems to be physically fine, or at least really close, but the mental part will remain a hurdle. He is still wearing a brace, which he seems likely to discard sometime in the near future.
NaVorro Bowman wears brace on L knee as required by medical staff. As soon as he's told he can discard it he says he might lite it on fire.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) May 29, 2015
I have to think the braces remains in the back of his mind and is part of the mental recovery. I also imagine that his recovery will not be totally final until he gets back on the field in preseason action, and makes that first tackle. He is moving well in the right direction, now it's just reaching that final destination.