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49ers coach Jim Harbaugh expects NaVorro Bowman to return midway through 2014 season

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The San Francisco 49ers sustained two major losses against Seattle during the NFC championship game.

Seattle knocked off San Francisco en route to a Super Bowl title, while 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman tore his ACL and MCL during that loss.

Bowman underwent knee surgery on February 4, and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is optimistic his linebacker will return midway through the 2014 season.

“I wouldn’t count NaVorro Bowman out of anything,” Harbaugh told CSNBayArea.com at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday. “He’s a supreme athlete, a world-class athlete among world-class athletes. The way he moves, his strength, his powers of healing. I wouldn’t count him out of anything. Realistically, halfway through the season, something like that would be more realistic. But I never underestimate NaVorro Bowman.”

That pretty much guarantees Bowman will be placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp in late-July. If that occurs, Bowman will not be allowed to practice with his team for the first six weeks of the season. The earliest he could return to game action would be in Week 7.

Bowman’s injury occurred during the fourth quarter of last season's NFC championship game. Seattle Seahawks faced third-and-10 in the fourth quarter when quarterback Russell Wilson threw a short pass to Jermaine Kearse. Bowman stripped Kearse, but the receiver was pushed into Bowman's left leg by safety Eric Reid, which caused the horrific injury.

Over the past three seasons, Bowman has not missed a regular season start, but that streak will come to an end in 2014.

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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