San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman will return to practice next week after getting cleared to do so this week. Bowman has been out since he tore the ACL and MCL in his knee near the end of the NFC Championship Game in January

By SI Wire
November 15, 2014

San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman will return to practice next week after getting cleared to do so this week, reports NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

Bowman has been out since he tore the ACL and MCL in his knee near the end of the NFC Championship Game in January. When Bowman does return to practice, San Francisco must activate him within 21 days in order for him to play this season.

The fifth-year pro was placed on the PUP list in July and remained there through training camp, which forced him to miss at least the first six games of the season.

Though 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Bowman potentially could have returned as soon as Wednesday, he was reportedly still experiencing pain in his surgically repaired knee, preventing him from returning then.

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It was then reported Friday that Bowman might not return at all this season, though Saturday's news seems to have ruled out that possibility.

Bowman, a third-round pick of the 49ers in the 2010 NFL draft, had 145 total tackles, five sacks and two interceptions last season and was named First Team All-Pro for the third straight year.

It's unclear when Bowman might return to game action.

Fellow linebacker Aldon Smith is returning Sunday after missing the first nine games of the season due to a suspension. Patrick Willis was placed on injured reserve this week due to a toe injury.

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The 49ers are 5-4 this season and in third place in the NFC West. They play the New York Giants on Sunday.

Ben Estes

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