49ers’ fans can breathe a sigh of relief this weekend, as general manager John Lynch announced on Saturday afternoon that rookie defensive end Nick Bosa will return to practice on Monday.
San Francisco’s first overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft has yet to suit up in the preseason after suffering an ankle injury during training camp. Considering that the injury was a high-ankle sprain for the pass rusher, the concern was that Bosa would be out for an extended amount of time — including the early part of the regular season.
On Saturday, the 49ers’ general manager spoke with the media and had the following to say about Bosa’s injury and return.
“The clarity that we have on Nick is that he’ll be ready for practice on Monday. How that goes, we’ve seen that with some other circumstances this year in situations where a guy is looking really good and then you’ve got to go practice and you’ve got to go play. Particularly at Nick’s position, where he plays against big bodies and you’ve got to be able to turn and all that. That’s a big step. But he’ll be ready for practice on Monday and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
San Francisco has been missing both of its premier pass rushers — two splashy offseason additions to aid a problematic area last season. The other addition, linebacker Dee Ford, has been out recovering from a knee injury.
While it’s unknown if Bosa will return to action Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s certainly a positive sign that the former Buckeye is back in pads for practice on Monday.
Looking ahead to the early part of the 49ers’ schedule, they face the Buccaneers and Bengals in back-to-back weeks on the road. Neither team should present a serious threat to the 49ers, especially if San Francisco aspires to be a true playoff threat this season.
Immediately after, the 49ers face off against the Steelers and the Browns, following a bye week. Both AFC North foes present potent offenses, and the 49ers will certainly need all hands on deck for both of those matchups.
If I’m head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, I make sure that Bosa is 100 percent healthy before playing him in the first two games. Bosa will need to be a full go against the Steelers and Browns in order to have a chance at slowing down those offenses.