Vic Fangio: NaVorro Bowman Will ‘Need Couple Weeks of Practice’


When San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio speaks, it’s always wise to listen.

The defensive leader of the Red and Gold was a guest on KNBR Radio’s The Murph and Mac Morning Show, and addressed a topic that so many of us are curious about:

When will NaVorro Bowman return to action?

As many of you know, Bowman currently resides on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform list, otherwise known as the PUP. He tore both his MCL and ACL ligaments in a depressing NFC Championship Game loss to the Seattle Seahawks last January. Residing on the PUP means that a player is not eligible to return until after the NFL’s Week 6 schedule has completed.

But don’t hold your breath, because it now looks as if Bowman will miss more time than originally anticipated.

It’s not like he got hurt in the middle of the season last year. His rehab and everything has gone great. He still needs time to rehab and recover. He’ll need a couple weeks of practice, too, to get his legs under him and feel comfortable playing on his leg. – Vic Fangio

Fangio went on to state that Bowman’s return will be ‘later than sooner,’ and that the All-Pro linebacker has not experienced any setbacks during the rehabilitation process.

Bowman is a warrior, and deserves praise for being this far along in the recovery process. His injury occurred at the end of the season – returning before a calendar year lapses is a feat in its own right.

The idea behind Bowman’s delayed return is directly related to the layout of the 49ers’ schedule.

Over the span of 11 days – November 16-27 – the 49ers play three games (NYG, WAS, SEA). They do not want their prized linebacker absorbing the pain that comes with such a compact workload.

But with every bit of bad news, good news follows.

Aldon Smith is slated to return from suspension for a Week 10 showdown against the New Orleans Saints. Adding Bowman, Smith, and Glenn Dorsey to a defense that ranks second in the NFL in total yards allowed at the end of the season is nothing short of incredible.

Meanwhile, Michael Wilhoite and Patrick Willis have controlled the middle of the field without impediment.

Their hard-nosed play and refined tackling ability has lead the 49ers to the league’s third-best run defense. Only the Seahawks (62.2 YPG) and Buffalo Bills (71.0 YPG) stuff the run better than the 49ers (73.8 YPG).

Following two pivotal victories, the 49ers once-muddled-future is again trending up.

We fans are on notice – perhaps it’s time the league recognizes the sleeping giant that is awakening in the Bay.