SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After 11 training camp practices, does San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman like what he's seen thus far on film of No. 53 in his return from the knee injury that cost him the 2014 season?
"Not yet," Bowman said following Thursday's helmets-and-shorts practice. "Not yet. But I'm satisfied with how much work I've put in, how far I've come. How fast I'm able to recover and cover guys. But there's still hurdles that I need to cross, and I'm just going to keep working until I get there but it's looking up for me."
Bowman has only missed one practice so far -- he was given a "vet's day off" the first day the 49ers put on the pads -- and there is still a question as to whether he will play in the team's exhibition opener Saturday at the Houston Texans.
Coach Jim Tomsula said earlier in the day if Bowman suits up, "it's going to be a short block of plays."
Bowman, meanwhile, said no decision had been made yet.
"Just want to be safe and smart," Bowman said. "Just feeling it out. Haven't really decided yet. But I feel good, I'm practicing with the guys and the main thing is to be ready for the [Minnesota] Vikings on Monday Night [Football on Sept 14].
"I'll get out there when I'm ready and when I feel it's time to go. I don't want to just go out there for two and three plays; I want to really get out there and do something."
It sounds as if Bowman will not play, then, right?
Because while Tomsula said the All-Pro inside linebacker is being treated as a veteran, rather than as a player coming back from a major injury, every move Bowman makes on the field is under scrutiny.
Bowman did look a step slow in Wednesday's practice on several plays.
"Guys are saying ... when it's live, I come around," Bowman said. "I was maybe a little timid ... just trying to feel it out. But when Coach said it was a scrimmage, I had a little bounce in my step. So I must have looked good to my teammates.
"These questions should keep coming. I'm watching my knee everyday and you guys are too."