A year ago, the timing of NaVorro Bowman's knee injury couldn't have been worse. Not only did it knock him out of the highly competitive NFC Championship game, the Jan. 19 date of the injury meant that he was unlikely to play the following season, which he did not.
This year, however, the timing is to Bowman's and the 49ers' benefit. He is approaching the 14-month mark from surgery to repair both torn ACL and MCL ligaments, and it may be another four months before he takes part in a game.
"For the longevity of his knee, it's probably way better taking a little bit extra time, especially when it's a multi-ligament injury," said Dan Solomon, an orthopedic surgeon with Marin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Novato.
Solomon said there were certain aspects of the surgery that were unknown, including whether Bowman also suffered meniscus or cartilage damage, which would make the recovery more difficult. For example, linebacker Chase Thomas, the most recent 49ers to suffer an ACL tear, recently had surgery and tweeted his relief that it was a clean tear, "Everything went great, no meniscus tears so that was an added bonus."
In general, Solomon said, it takes about a year for the new ligament to graft to the bone. So anything beyond a year is optimal, especially when there are two ligaments involved.
By all accounts, Bowman is doing well with his recovery. Jim Tomsula said recently that all the information he was getting about the process was "extremely positive."
Perhaps there is no better indication of that progress than the series of videos Bowman posted on his Instagram account this week that show him lunging and squatting with a weights on his shoulder. One of them shows him rising up with a 455 pounds of weight.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.