Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories focused on the 49ers’ trek toward the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10). We'll have content every day, including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts, comments from general manager Trent Baalke and more. Bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft and set your DVRs for April 28 at 4:30pm, when the 49ers Draft Preview show debuts on CSN Bay Area.
SANTA CLARA – Pro Bowl performers NaVorro Bowman and Mike Iupati are making good progress from the significant injuries they sustained in the NFC Championship game, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said on Friday.
Bowman underwent surgery on Feb. 4 to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. Iupati did not require surgery after sustaining a broken left ankle. Iupati is now walking on his own, Baalke said.
“Mike’s in a similar mindset to NaVorro,” Baalke said. “They’re both tough. They’re both highly competitive. It’s very important for both of them to get back on that field as soon as they can and they’re both making very good progress to getting there.”
Iupati is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Bowman is likely to begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would make him ineligible for the first six weeks of the regular season.
“You’re always a little guarded in these situations, but he looks good,” Baalke said of Bowman. “He’s working hard. He’s motivated to get back on that field. And he’s a champion. He’s got the heart of a champion. So if anybody can come back from it, NaVorro will be back.”
When asked for a timeframe for Iupati, Baalke said, “That’s still up in the air. He’ll be back at some point. How soon? That’s up to the medical staff for them to clear him. He’s out of the boot. He’s walking. He’s doing well.”