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NaVorro Bowman begins sprinting portion of ACL rehab

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NaVorro Bowman's shredded left knee is on the mend and the superstar linebacker hopes to return to form by midseason, when the bulk of the 49ers' schedule begins.

Bowman took a sizable step toward that return when he began sprinting this week.

"I must admit there's times when I look out of my peripheral vision and see them doing their workouts on the turf over there," coach Jim Harbaugh said on Friday, per the team's official website. "It looked like he was moving pretty good, so that's very positive."

The linebacker has been a first-team All-Pro selection in three consecutive seasons and was the 49ers' dominant linchpin last year.

Bowman started the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, making him ineligible to practice or play in the 49ers' first six games. The hope is the linebacker will be fully healthy and ready to go after that point.

Many of the Niners' key opponents will come down the stretch: Denver Broncos (Week 7); New Orleans Saints (Week 10); Seattle Seahawks (Week 13 & Week 15); San Diego Chargers (Week 16); Arizona Cardinals (Week 17).

A healthy Bowman would provide an enormous boost for those games, as well as the 49ers' chances of making it back to a fourth consecutive NFC Championship game.

The latest "Around The NFL Podcast" recaps the Steelers-Ravens game and previews the other 15 games in Week 2.

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