SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The music was blaring for the first time during camp at the San Francisco 49ers practice facility Tuesday afternoon, starting with "Juicy" from the Notorious BIG, and ranging all the way to "Enter Sandman" by Metallica.
That was the backdrop of a nice practice for linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who is slated to make his return to the game field Saturday in the team's preseason opener in Houston.
Head coach Jim Tomsula confirmed Tuesday the plan is to play Bowman against the Texans, marking his first game action since tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in the NFC championship game in January 2014. Tomsula said Bowman would be a game-time decision.
"I want to reserve the right if he’s a little sore. But, as of today, yes," Tomsula said.
In full-team drills, Bowman stepped in front of a Colin Kaepernick pass to Jerome Simpson and streaked down the left sideline. The play was blown dead before Bowman could reach the end zone, but Simpson was in hot pursuit.
That play came immediately after Bowman sacked Kaepernick on a blitz. But the play wasn't blown dead, and Kaepernick found Anquan Boldin deep down the field for a touchdown.
As training camp progresses, Bowman appears more and more comfortable with his knee. On a blitz early in camp, he put a spin move right guard Marcus Martin to get to Kaepernick for a sack. Today's interception was the highlight of his camp in coverage. It was similar to his interception against the Falcons in the last game at Candlestick Park, although he didn't need to cover as much ground Tuesday to undercut the receiver.
Unofficially, Kaepernick completed 10 of 19 throws. There were some poor throws, including a miss to a wide-open Vance McDonald in the left flat, and an overthrow of Garrett Celek deep down the middle of the field behind the defense. Kaepernick's best play came when he avoided a sack, scrambled to his right and found Reggie Bush along the sideline.
Blaine Gabbert had one of his best showings of camp, unofficially completing 14 of his 16 throws, as charted by the San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch. Gabbert made throws from the pocket and on the move, including a throw to Vernon Davis on an out-route to the left, and another to DeAndrew White along the right sideline.
--White had the highlight of the day for the offense, tipping a 50-yard throw from reserve quarterback Dylan Thompson with one hand back to himself in the end zone for the score.
White continues to have a very solid camp, and has been one of the most reliable receivers among reserves. However, he reps with Kaepernick against the first-team defense have been scarce.
--The defensive line continued to apply pressure to Kaepernick and the offense, notching at least three sacks. Glenn Dorsey registered one on a botched screen play, while Tank Carradine had two.
--Defensive lineman Quinton Dial (rep count), defensive end Kaleb Ramsey (muscle strain), receiver Bruce Ellington (muscle strain), linebacker Philip Wheeler (muscle strain), receiver Dres Anderson (soreness) and receiver Chuck Jacobs (soreness) were held from practice... Receiver Torrey Smith participated in individual drills, but was rested during the team period.
--The 49ers spent the majority of the second half of practice working on special teams drills. One note: rookie tight end Blake Bell, who played quarterback at Oklahoma for three seasons, has gotten reps at holder. He would be the option to hold in case Bradley Pinion, the normal holder for Phil Dawson, was asked to kick long field goals.