Update: Sources have told Pro Football Talk that Bowman has torn his ACL and MCL.
Anybody who watched NaVorro Bowman's knee bend in the wrong direction during the NFC Championship Game instantly knew the All-Pro linebacker had suffered a serious injury. Not surprisingly, a preliminary medical assessment indicates the San Francisco 49ers star has a torn ACL, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Bowman injured the knee on a pivotal play late in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks. On third-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hit wideout Jermaine Kearse just short of the goal line. Bowman ripped the ball from his hands on the 1-yard line. As Bowman was corralling the loose ball -- which was incorrectly awarded to Seattle at the conclusion of the play -- a hit from safety Eric Reid brought Kearse forcibly down on Bowman's left ankle, contorting his knee at a grotesque angle.
Somehow, the refs gave the recovery to the Seahawks. A fumbled snap on fourth down provided cosmic justice and gave the ball back to San Francisco.
David Fucillo at Niners Nation writes that Bowman's recovery will likely linger into next season.
Bowman's ACL tear will take him all offseason to rehab, and odds are it could lead into next season. The most notable ACL return was that of Adrian Peterson. He injured his the final week of the season a couple years back, and returned to have a dominant season. Bowman's injury is happening three weeks after the timing of AP's injury, so this could carry into next season. We'll see as the offseason progresses.
Bowman had a monster 2013, earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl distinctions while leading the 49ers with 145 tackles. He also added five sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions and elevated himself to one of the top playmaking defenders in the league.