HOUSTON -– Linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s return to the playing field will not happen Saturday night in the 49ers’ exhibition opener against the Houston Texans.
Bowman will be held out of the exhibition opener, the 49ers announced on Saturday. Coach Jim Tomsula said on Wednesday he was going "back and forth" whether to have Bowman suit up for the game. He could make his return with the 49ers play Sunday, Aug. 23, against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium.
Tight end Vernon Davis, defensive lineman Darnell Dockett and running back Reggie Bush will also will not play in the game Saturday, Tomsula announced.
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Bowman is rounding back into shape after missing all of last season with a severe knee injury. He sat out the 49ers’ first padded practice of training camp, but has participated in every other practice.
Davis has not missed a practice, but the 49ers would like to get a lot of playing time for the seven young tight ends on their roster. The club is expected to be open to trade at least one of those players to a team that needs a tight end.
Dockett, who is expected to fill a role on the 49ers’ defense in nickel situations, is returning to action after missing last season due to a torn ACL. And Bush has taken part in practices in the past week, but Tomsula said he does not need to see anything else from the nine-year veteran. The 49ers will have 76 of their 90 players available for action in the exhibition opener. The starters are not expected to see much playing time against the Texans. Tomsula said this game will be more about evaluating the young players.
Vance McDonald will start at tight end in place of Davis. Nick Moody and Shayne Skov will start at inside linebacker in place of Michael Wilhoite, who remains on non-football injury, and Bowman.
Here is the complete list of 49ers players who will not suit up Saturday against the Texans:
RB Reggie Bush
RB Kendall Hunter
WR Bruce Ellington
WR Dres Anderson
WR DeAndre Smelter (NFI)
TE Vernon Davis
C Daniel Kilgore (PUP)
DE Darnell Dockett
ILB NaVorro Bowman
ILB Nick Bellore (NFI)
ILB Michael Wilhoite (NFI)
ILB Philip Wheeler
OLB Aaron Lynch
DB Jimmie Ward