Football / Sports

49ers' NaVorro Bowman uncertain to be ready for 2014 season opener

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh doesn't know if linebacker NaVorro Bowman's left knee will recover in time for the 2014 season opener.

"Now knowing what's inside of NaVorro Bowman, I have great faith in the human agency of NaVorro Bowman to continue to be great," Harbaugh said Tuesday.

Three other starters suffered serious injuries in Sunday's 23-17 loss at Seattle: running back Frank Gore (broken right ring finger), left tackle Joe Staley (compound dislocation to right thumb) and left guard Mike Iupati (fractured left fibula).

Although Bowman needs surgery to repair the ACL, that can't be performed for two to three weeks, until doctors have a better feel for how a torn medial collateral ligament is healing, Harbaugh said.

"He's got healing ahead, he's got grueling rehab ahead," Harbaugh said. "That is not the way that you would've foreseen his offseason to be after coming off what many have talked about, and deservedly so, a Defensive Player of the Year-type of performance."

Iupati won't need surgery, and his left leg will be in a cast for up to three weeks, Harbaugh said. Since he didn't know of Gore's injury until after the game, Harbaugh said it did not factor into their play calls.

-- Safety Eric Reid is going to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for the Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor, who's going to the Super Bowl.

"Would much rather be headed to New York but Hawaii isn't bad. #ProBowl!!" Reid tweeted Tuesday.

Reid, the 49ers' first-round draft pick last year, stands to be the team's only representative in Sunday's Pro Bowl in Honolulu. Earlier, Ahmad Brooks joined the 49ers' other seven (initial) Pro Bowl honorees in forgoing the all-star game because of an unspecified injury. Brooks was replaced on the NFC's roster by Washington's Brian Orakpo, according to the NFL web site.

Vernon Davis will be replaced by retiring Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. Davis said Monday it was "too soon" to go on the Hawaiian holiday and that he had "nicks." Gore, Iupati, Staley, Bowman, defensive tackle Justin Smith (shoulder) and Patrick Willis (unspecified injury), though he dealt with a broken hand and pulled groin are also skipping the Pro Bowl.

-- Paraag Marathe's 13-year ascension up the front-office ranks has earned him the latest promotion to team president, a role previously held by Gideon Yu. Also, the 49ers announced that Marathe's former role as chief operating officer will be filled by Al Guido, who worked prominently with Marathe and Yu on Levi's Stadium development.

Yu, who was pivotal in the 49ers' ability to secure stadium financing, will remain a minority owner in the club. He served as the president since buying a stake in the 49ers two years ago.

CEO Jed York said in a statement: "Gideon, Paraag and Al have been instrumental in making the new stadium a reality, and I couldn't be more excited about the future of our management team and the 49ers organization."

Marathe served the past three years as the 49ers chief operating officer. He also has served as the club's chief negotiator on player contracts and salary-cap management, while helping usher in football analytics. General manager Trent Baalke will continue to oversee the 49ers football personnel side.

-- Running back Marcus Lattimore, who sat out his rookie season recovering from a major right knee injury, should be fully cleared to participate once organized team activities begin this spring. "This has been an outstanding year for Marcus," Harbaugh said. "Tough at times, but great things will happen for him."

Lattimore, a fourth-round draft pick, had his South Carolina career cut short by a gruesome knee injury in October 2012. He practiced with the 49ers for three weeks before going on injured reserve last month.

Harbaugh has "great hope" that Lattimore and defensive tackle Tank Carradine can produce in 2014. Carradine, a second-round pick, said last week he's fully recovered from a 2012 ACL tear that sidelined him as a 49ers rookie.

-- Harbaugh said the league has contacted the team about a sideline incident Sunday that involved a Seattle Seahawks player running into a 49ers employee, not a player, but an assistant coach. Said Harbaugh: "(Lane) did run into our guy. He kind of stumbled down to the ground. But our guy was in a spot back where he was supposed to be. I saw it with my own two eyes."

-- Harbaugh has spoken with the Cleveland Browns regarding his assistants that might be candidates for the Browns' vacant head-coaching job. "There's possibilities," Harbaugh said without naming which assistants he discussed.

Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was mentioned Monday by ESPN as a potential candidate. Harbaugh, earlier this month, endorsed Tomsula, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special-teams coordinator Brad Seely as head-coaching possibilities.

-- Harbaugh declined to address his contract and whether he hopes to land an extension this offseason. He is three seasons into a five-year, $25 million pact.

Staff writer Steve Corkran contributed to this report.

(c)2014 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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