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49ers' NaVorro Bowman Tore His ACL And MCL

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NaVorro Bowman suffered a gruesome leg injury in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
NaVorro Bowman suffered a gruesome leg injury in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers’ initial fears were realized on Monday as an MRI confirmed that LB NaVorro Bowman had torn his ACL and MCL, according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.

“Initial fears” implies that we all didn’t immediately know what had happened to Bowman. If you didn’t see it live you couldn’t have missed it during one of the dozen or so replays. As Bowman clearly recovered a loose ball, Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse fell on his leg causing it to buckle awkwardly. It was immediately reminiscent of previous gruesome leg injuries like Willis McGahee’s from way back in 2002 that will forever be etched in my mind.

First, we’ll discuss the play and the call — or lack thereof — and then we’ll discuss a timetable. Bowman obviously recovered the fumble prior to the receiver being down. Bowman stopped Kearse shy of the end zone and, in the process, jarred the ball loose. As it came out it fell right into Bowman’s arms as Kearse went down on top of his leg. The whistle blew and the officials awarded the Seahawks possession. Because of a bizarre rule the play was not reviewable even though Bowman clearly gained possession and was down by contact. As fate would have it, Marshawn Lynch coughed it up on the very next play and the 49ers recovered it.

Back to the injury. Given that he tore both his ACL and MCL, Bowman will likely have to wait for the swelling to subside prior to undergoing surgery (much like Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski did earlier this season, he waited a month). With it being so late in the season, his availability for the start of training camp is all but gone. A more likely scenario will see him sit out most, if not all, of the preseason, and he could wind up on the Reserve/PUP list to start the season.

It’s an unfortunate blow for the star linebacker, but he’s young enough — he doesn’t turn 26 until May of this year — that he should bounce back nicely. The 2013 first-team All Pro had arguably his best season, amassing 145 total tackles, five sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.