By Jerrell Richardson
The bye week is in place to allow a team to recover from the beating their bodies take over the first half of the season, and the 49ers have taken full advantage of their week off. While the headlines were grabbed by the news of Patrick Willis, Mike Iupati and Chris Culliver, all who missed the team's last game against Denver, and are all scheduled to return this week against the Rams, there is even more positive news on the injury front.
It would be better if dates were attached to these updates, but the recent news concerning both NaVarro Bowman and Glenn Dorsey is very good, and only confirm the hope that eventually the defense will have all hands on deck in time for a playoff push. Another injured 49er who has returned to the practice field is Marcus Lattimore. This news is not as impactful however as another running back is not exactly what the team needs at this time, but depth and a quality player is never a bad thing.
NaVorro Bowman Sprinting
While the 49er defense has held up well without Bowman, there is no around the fact that they miss #53. In fact defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio has to be salivating at the thought of Bowman's return. A player of Bowman’s ability will only elevate the play of a defense, which as it currently stands, is among the best in the league. The latest news regarding Bowman's return is good mixed with a strange rumor. The bottom line is that if the 49ers are planning to make a playoff run they will need Bowman, and the good news is that this past week, General Manager Trent Baalke recently confirmed that their star linebacker is still on pace to return this season.
The strange twist to this story though is that apparently Bowman is faster than he has ever been. Yes, that's right, faster. Before entering the league Bowman ran a 4.70 40-yard dash in 2010 and bested that at his Pro Day with a 4.62, and just recently posted a time in the "4.5" range. Believe this or not, the fact remains that that NaVorro Bowman, back on the practice field, and running full out for 40 yards is a great sign for this team. If there is somehow that he is faster so be it, but the player before the injury was just fast enough.
Dorsey Is Back
Like Bowman, there is no timetable set for the return of Glenn Dorsey. The 49ers nose tackle is literally on the verge of playing again on Sundays though. Dorsey suffered a biceps injury 3 months ago and is now officially back on the practice field. The initial reports have him passing all conditioning tests and the team will push his limits to see how game ready he is. With 21 days to either activate or shut him down for the season, the team has time, but don’t figure to need the full time to make a decision.
The earliest Dorsey can play is November 9th against the Saints, and that’s the tentative goal. This give the team plenty of time to see where Dorsey is at in his recovery. Even if unable to be back on the field in his full capacity, just him back on the field, even in limited action is a plus. He has only been out 3 months, and his position is one that does not require a ton of timing. This means that if he is fully healed, then Dorsey will be back to his usual self, clogging up the middle of the field in no time.
Lattimore 49er Debut Draws Closer
Those outside of San Francisco may have forgotten about Marcus Lattimore, who for the past two seasons has been rehabbing a gruesome left knee injury. Lattimore was easily one of the top backs in college before his injury and the 49ers have patiently waited for him to get healthy. Lattimore is in the same boat as Dorsey, as his recent activation leaves the team three weeks to figure out what to do with him.
The difference between the two though is that Lattimore will be treated a lot more carefully than Dorsey due to the nature of his prior injury, and the fact that the team doesn’t really have an immediate need at the position. Rookie Carlos Hyde has yet to get going and would certainly not benefit from losing touches. However. If Lattimore is the superior back and can show this in his limited role then he will force San Francisco to put him on the field. The plan for Lattimore is to wait the entire 21 days before making him active. That could mean his long awaited 49er debut could be 11/23 against the Redskins.
Reinforcements On The Way
The 49ers will see three playmakers join them as they gear up for a second half of the 2014 season. The team has played well without them, so it stands to reason that they will elevate their play with them. The team knows what they will get out of Bowman and Dorsey and have to be excited to see if Lattimore is ready to contribute on the NFL level. If a Super Bowl berth is in the 49ers future, than expect all three to play some role on the way.
For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.
Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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