NaVorro Bowman hits for first time since knee injury

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Francisco 49ers training camp:

  • The festive atmosphere surrounding the Niners practice, in front of several thousand fans attending the SBL Member Kickoff Event, turned a bit sour as the grass at Levi’s Stadium again was torn up in practice. The 49ers had originally scheduled their first eight practices of camp to be held on their game-day field but went to their practice facility for Days 3 and 4 before returning Wednesday night. Divots appeared immediately and rookie running back Mike Davis lost his footing, went down in a heap and limped off the field but later returned. In fact, midway through practice, the drills went to halfspeed. A team spokesman, though, said the reason was because the team was down to only four inside linebackers -- NaVorro Bowman, practicing in pads for the first time since suffering that bad knee injury in January of 2014, Nick Moody, Shayne Skov and Desmond Bishop, and not because of the field.

  • Speaking of Bowman, he practiced with his left knee brace on and had a pretty play early in team drills, diving to break up a Colin Kaepernick pass in the flat to Jarryd Hayne.

  • And speaking of Hayne, the Australian rugby star trying to make it in the NFL, he was getting reps with the first-team offense at running back, behind Carlos Hyde and ahead of Mike Davis (neither Reggie Bush nor Kendall Hunter practiced). Hayne looks impressive but also appears a tad tentative as he approached the line on a handoff.

  • The offense looked much improved after being dominated the previous few practices, with Kaepernick exhibiting some touch and accuracy on intermediate passes. He connected a few times with tight end Garrett Celek in the middle of the field.

  • But Kaepernick was also picked off for the third straight practice, this time Moody getting him in the end zone on a telegraphed throw to Torrey Smith.

  • Injury-wise, rookie defensive lineman Arik Armstead took a knee to the thigh and did not finish practice with what was described as “dead leg,” strong safety Antoine Bethea had a foot stepped on but was deemed OK and, with the team working mostly in base defense, D-lineman Darnell Dockett did not participate in team drills. He did conditioning. Inside linebacker Philip Wheeler was a no go with a muscle strain.

  • The 49ers are off Thursday, after five practices in five days, and return for a Friday practice at 4:15 p.m. PT.

A few pics I Tweeted out Wednesday: