SANTA CLARA -– Linebacker NaVorro Bowman did not sustain a setback that prevented him from playing last season, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Wednesday.
Baalke said the 49ers held Bowman out for the entire season because it was in the best long-term interest of the team’s three-time All-Pro linebacker after he sustained a severe knee injury in January 2014 in the NFC Championship game.
“There was no setback at all,” Baalke said. “It was just a matter of what’s the best decision for him, long term, at that time. And that’s the decision that we made.”
Bowman is expected to return to his spot in the middle of the defense without Patrick Willis, who announced his decision to retire after eight NFL seasons on Tuesday. The 49ers placed Willis on the reserve/retired list.
Baalke said Bowman’s rehabilitation work is going well.
“Real good. You can tell he’s working,” Baalke said. “He feels good. He’s really starting to feel like it’s coming back to where he wants it. And that’s always the most important thing.
“I think he’s at a real good place right now.”