The San Francisco 49ers' NaVorro Bowman is taken to the locker room on a cart after injuring his leg during the second half on Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Seahawks. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Santa Clara, Calif. — San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee when he went down during last Sunday’s NFC Championship loss at Seattle, according to reports Monday.
Bowman would have surgery for the ACL tear but that the MCL is likely to heal with rest and he is expected to be ready for the 2014 season.
“It’s not as bad as feared,” a 49ers source with knowledge of the situation said.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said after the 23-17 season-ending loss to the Seahawks that Bowman was believed to have torn his ACL. Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was chosen to replace Bowman in the Pro Bowl.
Linebackers coach Jim Leavitt said he remains optimistic Bowman will be playing when the 49ers open new Levi’s Stadium next season.
“He’s a warrior; he’s going to push forward, there’s no question,” Leavitt said. “He’s a special guy, tremendously talented, but he’s got such a heart. He’s been so good with me it’s unbelievable. He’s great young man. He’ll be fine. We’re going into a new stadium and he’ll be ready to go when we start.”
In addition, left guard Mike Iupati broke his left ankle in the loss. He says he doesn’t know whether he will need surgery, but is scheduled to be further evaluated today.
“This is a bad-luck year,” said Iupati, who missed four games with a left knee injury. “I’ll probably be in a cast for a while. I’ll be here rehabbing. It’s day by day and wish for the best.”
Belichick on Welker
Patriots coach Bill Belichick says Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker deliberately tried to “take out” cornerback Aqib Talib when they collided in the AFC Championship.
Talib hurt his knee on the play early in the second quarter and missed the rest of the game.
Denver beat New England, 26-16, to advance to the Super Bowl.
It “was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib, no attempt to get open,” Belichick said during his opening statement at his season-ending news conference. “I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play. It’s not for me to decide, but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen.
“That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “If there is any discipline for plays in (the AFC and NFC) games, it will be determined by Merton Hanks later.”
Hanks is the league’s vice president of player operations.
Welker, who had a cool relationship with Belichick before leaving New England as a free agent last offseason, was not available for comment. Welker spent the previous six years with the Patriots.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin could be back to practice later this week for the Seahawks and is expected to be available for the Super Bowl.
Harvin missed the NFC Championship victory over San Francisco after suffering a concussion a week earlier in the divisional playoff win over New Orleans.
... Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said cornerback Richard Sherman understood his rant against 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree was overshadowing the Seahawks reaching their second Super Bowl in franchise history. They played in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
“He was really clear that the last thing he wanted to do was take something away from our team, what we had accomplished,” Carroll said.
... Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been chosen to play in the Pro Bowl this weekend, replacing Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
... Washington running back Alfred Morris will head to his first Pro Bowl, replacing Super Bowl-bound Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch.
... Bears cornerback Tim Jennings is replacing Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who’s headed to the Super Bowl.
... The Titans hired defensive coordinator Ray Horton and defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, who filled the same roles this season in Cleveland.