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NaVorro Bowman could be cleared for start of 49ers on-field drills

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The 49ers star linebacker is rehabbing his torn Achilles, and appears to be making good progress.

The San Francisco 49ers opened their offseason workout program on Monday, but on-field work is restricted to strength and conditioning drills, and rehab work. Nobody but the strength and conditioning coaches and training staff are allowed to work with players on the field these first two weeks.

The 49ers will have a voluntary minicamp the week before the draft, leading into the second phase of the offseason workout program. We could see some good news at that stage. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he believes linebacker NaVorro Bowman will be cleared when the on-field work begins. Shanahan said Bowman is still working with the training staff to finalize their plan, but it sounds like good progress is being made.

Bowman tore his Achilles in Week 4 this past season. A notable recent comparison would be wide receiver Steve Smith. He tore his Achilles in the Ravens seventh game of the 2015 season. He rehabbed it and was back for the start of the 2016 season.

Linebacker and wide receiver are two entirely different positions, but with a few games on Smith’s rehab schedule, it makes sense that Bowman should be fine in short order. There is certainly no need to rush him back, but in learning a new defensive scheme, getting those on-field workouts will be valuable.