NaVorro Bowman finds Achilles rehab 'easier to deal with' than knee injury

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman is no stranger to lengthy and strenuous rehabilitations from serious injuries.

Having suffered a gruesome knee injury in the 2014 NFC championship against the Seattle Seahawks, Bowman missed the next season as he attempted to recover. He went on to return for the 2015 season and played well, though he wasn't quite all the way back to the high standard he set for himself.

Then, disaster struck again on Oct. 2 of last season when Bowman tore his left Achilles in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He's now more than four months removed from the injury and is well ahead of where he was at this point in his recovery from the knee issue.

Bowman said last week there's no comparison between the rehab required for tearing multiple ligaments in his knee and tearing an Achilles.

"It doesn't (compare)," Bowman said. "It's much more easy to deal with. I'm not spending those long hours warming up trying to get my workout in so it's definitely easier to deal with than my knee. I can definitely see a positive light at the end of the tunnel."

At the end of the season, Bowman said he had progressed to the point where he was able to run on a water treadmill but he didn't have a definitive date on when he'd be able to run again on land.

"I'm working every single day, doing everything the trainers are asking me to do," Bowman said. "There's no timetable set when I will be cleared to do every single thing but the sky is looking bright for me. I feel great and the key is just keep improving every single day and giving me confidence knowing that I will be back."

Despite having now gone through multiple serious injuries in the past few years, Bowman is clearly intent on getting healthy and getting back to being one of the league's best linebackers. Bowman is still only 28, signed a lucrative contract extension last preseason and sounds like a man who has something to prove as he works his way back from his latest injury.

"I'm a grinder," Bowman said. "Anything that knocks me down, I'm going to get back up. It's just who is going to stick beside me and remember what I've done and keep praying for me that I get back to where I was."