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Is NaVorro Bowman returning too quickly from knee surgery?

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

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Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN took a closer look at recent comments from 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman regarding the amount of time he spends getting ready to practice or play after reconstructive knee surgery in early 2014.

Rodney Harrison and yours truly discussed the situation from various angles and perspectives, and at one point Harrison raised a legitimate concern regarding the current condition of Bowman’s knee: If he’s having this much trouble being able to run around on a football field now, how hard will it be for him to do things like walk in his post-football career? Also, how much will further physical contact involving that knee impact his ability to do things like walk in future years?

Rodney also touched on another point that most wouldn’t be willing to address. By making known the amount of effort required to get his knee ready, Bowman has invited offensive linemen to target the knee. And that’s just the way it goes on a football field at the highest level of the sport.

Even if no one specifically tests the knee (and someone surely will), Bowman plays a position the necessarily will see the knee tested, repeatedly.

So while Bowman’s struggle is inspiring and admirable, he could be setting himself up for more struggles by making it known that his knee is in the kind of condition that requires so much care and treatment in order to merely step onto the practice field. In a year that has seen multiple 49ers step away from the game, it could be that one of the rare guys who didn’t may have had the best reason to consider it.