Through the first half of this season, 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander was a star.
In his first year in the Bay Area after four seasons with Tampa Bay, Alexander was proving to be one of the team’s best offseason pickups. The rangy, athletic linebacker teamed with second-year man Fred Warner to give San Francisco a sideline-to-sideline dynamic duo.
Through eight games, Alexander was in on 34 tackles including two for loss, had four passes defensed, a forced fumble and an interception.
But against the Carolina Panthers in late October, Alexander suffered a torn pectoral muscle, was placed on injured reserve and deemed out for the rest of the season.
But now, perhaps, there’s a chance Alexander could make a return.
Thursday morning, 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said on 95.7 The Game that Alexander’s rehab is going well and he believes he could be a part of the team’s postseason.
“We were hanging out with him at his house, and he was just like, ‘Man, it’s a possibility. If we get all the way there, it’s a high chance,’” Bourne said, according to Eric Ting of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Originally, Alexander’s injury was reported to take about six months to heal. If the 49ers get as far as the Super Bowl, it would be just over three months.
This week, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan sounded skeptical.
“We won’t rule it out, but it’s a long shot, and it’s not any time soon,” he told Ting.
This week, Alexander was seen on a practice field at the 49ers facility, doing drills, showing he’s making progress after surgery.
The 49ers began this season with a dominating defense and a somewhat disappointing offense, but over the second half, the defense has faltered – with injuries to key players such as Alexander, pass rusher Dee Ford and in the secondary – while the offense has been clicking.
The 11-3 49ers play the 8-6 Rams Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium, and need a win – plus another the following Sunday at Seattle – to have a shot at the NFC West championship and the NFC’s top playoff seed.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 5:15. Oddsmakers list the 49ers as 6½-point favorites.