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Niners' NaVorro Bowman carted off vs. Seahawks

The San Francisco 49ers' defense lost its best player in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game loss to the Seahawks.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Seattle Seahawks' 23-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. ET and again at midnight.

49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman was carted off the field with what appeared to be a devastating knee injury on a catch near the goal line. Coach Jim Harbaugh said after game that the preliminary diagnosis was a torn ACL, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. It appeared Bowman intercepted the pass, but the play was ruled a completion for the Seahawks, who subsequently fumbled the ensuing snap and lost the ball.

Bowman was arguably the best defensive player in the league this season. No inside linebacker covers more ground, and he was having a huge game before the injury with 14 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss.

Bowman's leg bent backward unnaturally, a horrific injury that was replayed too many times. Bowman was carted off the field, and some ridiculous Seahawks fan poured popcorn on him as he was taken under the stadium.

It wasn't the first major injury for the 49ers on Sunday. Mike Iupati, the 49ers starting left guard, also didn't return after suffering an ankle injury during Anthony Dixon's 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Harbaugh said after the game that Iupati suffered a fractured ankle. Adam Snyder replaced Iupati at left guard.

UPDATE: NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Bowman tore his ACL and MCL, per a source who has spoken to the player. Rapoport adds that the injury is not as bad as feared and the hope is he'll be ready for the Niners' season opener in 2014.

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