A somber mood filled the 49ers locker room in Seattle following the NFC Championship. Not only were hopes of another trip to the Super Bowl crushed, a teammate was lost, severely injured in the game’s final moments.
NaVorro Bowman then made his way through the locker room, hobbled but not beaten by the crutches on which he now needed to walk. The mood lightened. After a taking a terrific blow, Bowman was at least upright and moving on his own. It was a sign that things would be alright. Time has the power to heal wounds, both the emotional and physical kind.
This week Bowman returned to the Bay Area for the first time since undergoing reconstructive surgery on his torn ACL. He appeared without crutches but still carried the optimism that he had with him only hours after his injury. The linebacker is not worried about when he’ll be able to play again. He’s simply grateful that he will be able to play again.
“Look at me. I’m walking. That’s good enough, man. I’m not really thinking about practice or anything. I’m happy to be walking,” Bowman told the small group of media who were on hand to meet him at a Concord apparel store where he signed autographs for fans. “I can’t run on the field even if I wanted to…I’m going to continue working on my knee and see where I end up.”
Bowman watched the play that caused him to release a scream few will forget “a few times” the day after it happened, but has not looked back since.
“It’s part of the game. I’m not really a grudge type man. I have to move on if I want to continue playing.”
Bowman has spent his time since surgery rehabbing in Florida. He has a few media appearances on the East Coast later this week and will then return to Florida to rehab a bit more. He’ll join his teammates once the 49ers offseason program starts in Santa Clara and turn his recovery regimen over to the team’s training staff.
Bowman moves slowly, cautiously. But he’s taking steps in the right direction.