The instant 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman went down in a heap in the NFC Championship game, he knew it would be a long time before he played again.
Bowman said on SportsCenter today that the pain of having his knee ligaments ripped was intense, and he didn’t need an MRI to inform the doctor that he was going to need reconstructive surgery.
“I knew the position I was in. As soon as my knee went in, I felt a hot flame in my knee and I told the doc, ‘It’s torn,'” Bowman said.
Bowman suffered the injury while making a great play, stripping the ball from Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse and holding on despite the pain. Unfortunately, the officials wrongly ruled that Seattle had recovered Kearse’s fumble, and under the since-changed NFL rules, the referee wasn’t allowed to use replay to fix the mistake. Bowman says he thinks he could have saved himself a lot of pain if he had known the 49ers weren’t going to benefit from his fumble recovery.
“I know it’s already popped out,” Bowman said, describing his thoughts about his knee as he was on the ground. “Rolling over, trying to hold the ball, just hoping that they give us the ball, because I know exactly what just happened — I tore my knee and I’ve got the ball in my hand. So knowing we didn’t get the ball, I just felt like it wasn’t worth it, and I could have let the ball go and maybe saved my knee.”
Bowman said he’s hoping to be back to full speed in time that he doesn’t have to open the season on the physically unable to perform list, but he realizes that’s a possibility. He may be paying into the 2014 season for that great play he made at the end of his 2013 postseason.