NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports the San Francisco 49ers linebacker suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Sunday's NFC Championship Game loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
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The MCL will heal with rest but Bowman will undergo surgery to repair the ACL. According to Rapoport, the injury is not as bad as originally feared and there is hope Bowman will be ready for the start of the 2014 season.
The gruesome injury occurred when Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse tumbled into Bowman's extended leg with 8:54 to play in the game. Bowman -- who had managed to strip the ball from Kearse -- was in obvious pain before being carted off to the locker room. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game the team believed Bowman suffered an ACL injury.
The injury was a difficult ending to an otherwise excellent season for Bowman, who is among the candidates for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Bowman's ability to recover from reconstructive knee injury will become a major subplot of the Niners' offseason.
Bowman wasn't the only 49ers starter lost to injury in Sunday's game. Left guard Mike Iupati suffered a fractured left fibula early in the second quarter and didn't return. Iupati will not need surgery, according to The Sacramento Bee, which cited a league source. He reportedly should be back to full strength in eight weeks.