Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NaVorro Bowman “feels great” after return to practice

Like the other teams that changed coaches this offseason, the 49ers are holding a three-day voluntary minicamp for their veteran players before the draft and that’s given them an opportunity to get linebacker Navorro Bowman back on the field for the first time in a long time.

Bowman missed all of last season after tearing knee ligaments in the 49ers’ NFC Championship game loss to the Seahawks after the 2013 season and was never able to practice during a brief spell off of the physically unable to perform list late in the year. Bowman has been participating in this week’s work, however, and he said Wednesday that all is going well in his return to the field.

“It’s exciting to be out there with my teammates. There’s still a lot of work to do but my knee feels great,” Bowman said.

Getting Bowman back would be important for the 49ers even if they weren’t dealing with the retirements of Patrick Willis — which Bowman called a “big hit” — and Chris Borland, but the loss of those two linebackers make Bowman’s ability to recapture his old form a crucial piece of their plans on defense.

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