While the San Francisco 49ers were one of the most injury-plagued teams in the NFL in 2020, Kyle Shanahan’s club particularly missed the dominant presence of DE Nick Bosa along the defensive front.
The 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year missed the majority of his sophomore campaign after suffering a torn ACL and cartilage damage in his left knee early in the club’s Week 2 win over the New York Jets. Dependent on his rehab progress, Bosa is expected to make his return to the field in time for the start of the 2021 campaign — which would put him nearly 12 full months removed from the season-ending injury. The 23-year-old rising star has been mostly off the grid while works his way back to health but finally broke his media silence this week.
According to NFL insider Josina Anderson, who spoke directly to Bosa on Monday, the Pro Bowl pass rusher deferred on providing details regarding his recovery, instead saying, “You’ll see my progress on the field next year. Tell them I’m gonna be better.”
I spoke w/ #49ers DL Nick Bosa (ACL) on the phone real quick before his workout in Ft Lauderdale, Florida today. Bosa says right now he still wants to lay low while he continues to rehab, but told me, “You’ll see my progress on the field next year. Tell them I’m gonna be better.”
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 23, 2021
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Bosa’s Injury Deemed ‘Bigger’ Than Normal Tear ACL
Among the most recent updates shared on Bosa’s progress came from Bay Area News Group’s Cam Inman, who described his recovery as “great” in a December 6 mailbag story.
“Nick is apparently recovering great from his knee reconstruction, after a Sept. 20 ACL tear,” Inman wrote at the time. “He showed impressive leg strength in an Instagram video posted recently by his physical therapist, who did not respond to my message seeking more insight. Nick hasn’t talked to the media since Sept. 17.”
Nick Bosa getting his ACL rehab in. 🙏
— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) December 1, 2020
However, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows provided a more tepid look into the situation in a piece earlier this month featuring insight directly from Bosa’s surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who called the injury “bigger” than a standard ACL tear.
Nonetheless, the 49ers are counting on Bosa to contribute again in 2021, though it’s fair to temper expectations based on the significance of the injury. The importance of healthy knees for an edge rusher who relies on lower body power, flexibility and explosion cannot be understated, so it should take time for the third-year defensive end to get back to the potential he showed as a rookie.
Perhaps fans will get more frequent updates in the weeks and months to follow as Bosa is able to build back strength and ramp up his activity level.
49ers Bring Back California Kid at Wide Receiver
On Monday, San Francisco officially announced the signing of WR River Cracraft, who will return on a one-year deal.
The 26-year-old wideout first shared the news on February 12 in an Instagram post captioned, “Staying home!”
Originally an undrafted free agent of the Denver Broncos in 2017, the California native spent time on the 49ers practice squad and active roster in 2020, posting six receptions for 41 yards, 40 punt return yards and three special teams tackles in nine games played. Cracraft will rejoin a receiving corps headlined by young guns Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as he competes for a spot on the 53-man roster this offseason.
Should Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor, both impending unrestricted free agents next month, be allowed to sign elsewhere, the path to playing time could open up for Cracraft, among others.
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