A Navorro Bowman injury was the last thing that the San Francisco 49ers needed during what is expected to be a rough rebuilding season. The Pro Bowl inside linebacker had to leave the game against the Dallas Cowboys earlier today because of an injury to his left leg, as reported by ESPN.
During Super Bowl XLVIII, the San Francisco 49ers were horrified when they witnessed Navorro Bowman going down with a torn ACL. The injury was so bad that he was forced to miss the entire 2014 season to rehab the knee properly. The Niners felt what life was like without Bowman.
NFL players usually go in for an MRI on Monday mornings if they are injured playing on Sunday. The team medical staff will give their initial impression, but management does not really know for sure until the day after. For now, the initial prognosis for Navorro Bowman is that he has torn his Achilles.
A torn Achilles is one of the more serious injuries in the NFL. There is a very good chance that Navorro Bowman could be forced to miss the rest of the season for the San Francisco 49ers. The team might be forced to find a new leader for their defense.
A lengthy absence might lead to some interesting scenarios with the contract extension that Navorro Bowman signed with the San Francisco 49ers before the start of training camp. Management was hoping that durability would not be an issue when they decided to show further loyalty to Bowman.
It will be interesting to see how the San Francisco 49ers replace Navorro Bowman in the lineup. Gerald Hodges is the other starting inside linebacker. The primary backups right now are Michael Wilhoite, Nick Bellore, and Shayne Skov. The Niners might also use a platoon system with all three players.
Without Navorro Bowman around, the San Francisco 49ers are going to need younger guys like Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. The two of them have to wreak havoc on opposing NFL offensive lines because the replacement linebackers will not be able to do as much as Bowman normally does.
Having more pressure placed upon them will have an interest effect on DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead. Doing well will give them the confidence to speed up their development. Both guys are expected to become stars in the NFL. Doing poorly, though, might have a negative impact on their confidence.
There will also be pressure by the San Francisco 49ers placed on the other side of the ball. With a depleted defense, the offense will be required to carry more of the workload. Unfortunately for the Niners, the offense is not currently well equipped to dominate with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.
Navorro Bowman might have unintentionally helped Colin Kaepernick become the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers again. Since the offense will need to step up, Blaine Gabbert’s seat becomes even hotter than it is now.
With Colin Kaepernick become somewhat of a hero to many, there are those that are rooting to see him get another shot from the San Francisco 49ers to see if he can regain his status as one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL. Prior to the injuries and the decline, Kaepernick was quite the dual threat, being able to both run the football and throw it as well.
Injuries can cripple an NFL team. The San Francisco 49ers had an uphill climb to get back into the playoffs. Without Navorro Bowman around to run the defense, it becomes that much harder.
[Featured Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]