Bowman's comeback on the horizon

All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman has looked good to the 49ers in workouts and could be returning to practice as early as this week, Jim Harbaugh said Monday.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 49ers could decide to open linebacker NaVorro Bowman's 21-day practice window this week, head coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll see if that window gets opened to start practicing,” Harbaugh said.

Bowman is listed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list after sustaining torn a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee in January's conference title game. Once Bowman's 21-day window is open, San Francisco has three weeks to elevate him to the active roster or shut him down for the season.

The deadline to open a player's 21-day window is Nov. 18 before 1 p.m., the Tuesday following this weekend's game against the Giants. Otherwise, that player must be shut down for the year.

They can also add him to the roster and keep him off the active 46 on game days until they feel he is ready to get back on the field after the window is closed.

"We’ll see. He has been doing some cutting – and he’s cutting pretty darn well," said Harbaugh.

In a radio spot with 95.7 The Game last month, general manager Trent Baalke said Bowman is back to running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 range.

"He was all excited. He's coming along very well," Baalke said.

[Related: Harbaugh looking forward to having smith back]

Fellow All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis missed his last three starts while dealing with a toe injury suffered in the second quarter of Oct. 13's win over the St. Louis Rams. His absence has allowed for the emergence of rookie Chris Borland, who has led the 49ers in tackles in each of the last two games. He also recovered Ahmad Brooks' forced fumble in overtime Sunday that set up the game-clinching field goal.

Borland might be playing too well to get taken off the field when Willis is healthy. He has taken over for Willis at the 'Mike' position, while Michael Wilhoite has played 'Jack.'

Willis has experience at both positions, as does Bowman.

Update: Tuesday, Nov. 11

ESPN reported Tuesday Bowman was still feeling pain in his knee. He has been running and cutting in the final stages of his rehab before returning to practice. Harbaugh went on KNBR 680 Tuesday morning and said Bowman would undergo an MRI on the knee to gather more information before making a decision on his return to practice.

[Related: Santa Clara DA: McDonald won’t get charged]

Next story:

Harbaugh looking forward to having Smith back

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