NFL news: No timetable for NaVorro Bowman's return

Jonathan Ferrey

NaVorro Bowman suffered a gruesome knee injury during the NFC Championship, and it will be a while until his status for the start of 2014 is known.

On Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported NaVorro Bowman was expected to be ready for the start of the 2014 season, despite the torn ACL he suffered in the NFC Championship. That report may have been premature. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported Tuesday that there currently is no timetable for Bowman to return, and there won't be one for a while.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said Bowman suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and will be forced to wait to have surgery because of damage to his MCL. Bowman did not tear his MCL, but ACL surgery will have to wait for swelling to subside, which could force Bowman to wait two or three weeks before going under a knife. Bowman's injury occurred late in the season, and with surgery delayed his status for the start of the 2014 regular season should remain in question well into the summer. Harbaugh isn't doubting Bowman will return to form.

"Knowing what's inside of NaVorro Bowman, I have great faith in the human agency of NaVorro Bowman to continue to be great," Harbaugh said, via CSN Bay Area.

Joe Staley played through a thumb injury

Bowman wasn't the only 49er to suffer an injury against Seattle. According to Maiocco, left tackle Joe Staley suffered a compound dislocation of his thumb, which forced bone through his skin. Staley missed the last play of the first half, but returned in the second half and played the rest of the game despite the injury.

Running back Frank Gore also reportedly broke his right ring finger during the game and will have surgery. Harbaugh said he didn't know about the injury until after the game.

Buccaneers hire a general manager

The Bucaneers' search for a general manager concluded Tuesday with the hiring of Jason Licht to replace Mark Dominik. Licht comes to Tampa Bay from Arizona, where he was the vice president of player personnel in 2013. In Tampa Bay, Licht will have control over the draft and personnel decisions, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. He is expected to work closely with new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith.

Licht has a background in scouting, and has worked in the NFL since 1995, including three years in New England. He was a finalist for the general manager position in Chicago last season, but the Bears ultimately hired Phil Emery.

Browns coaching search continues, Adam Gase withdraws from consideration

Cleveland's coaching search was thought to be in a holding pattern while the organization waited for Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase to complete his playoff run with the Broncos. The Browns don't have to wait any more. Gase reportedly declined to interview before the Super Bowl and told the Browns they could "move on with their search," according to Ian Rapoport.

Cleveland apparently plans to do just that, with plans now set to interview Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for a second time. Pettine just finished his first season as defensive coordinator in Buffalo after serving in the same capacity with the New York Jets for four seasons.

The Browns will also interview Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, and may have interest in interviewing Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn before the Super Bowl.

Aqib Talib avoids structural damage

Aqib Talib was forced out of the AFC Championship game due to a knee injury, but the Patriots cornerback reportedly did not suffer any structural damage. The injury occurred when Wes Welker hit Talib low while attempting to block him. Bill Belichick said he thought the play may have been a malicious attempt to knock out Talib from the game. Denver head coach John Fox defended Welker.

Regardless of the intent, Talib did not suffer any torn ligaments. Avoiding serious injury is great news for Talib, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March. He signed a one-year deal with New England last year, and should have multiple suitors in free agency if he doesn't re-sign with the Patriots before hitting the market.

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