Could Nick Bosa Be Ready for Opening Day?

Jul 28, 2021; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) runs during training camp at the SAP Performance Facility. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

A former Ohio State Buckeye had his second season wiped out prematurely in Week 2 of 2020. Now, as Nick Bosa prepares to enter the 2021 campaign, his third in the NFL, he may very well return for the San Francisco 49ers season opener on September 12 against the Detroit Lions.

Bosa, who is coming off of an ACL tear against the Jets last September, was held to limited participation in the team’s first two training camp practices and sat out for a maintenance day on Friday.

His ACL tear was the headliner of numerous amount of injuries that the 49ers had to endure in the COVID-ravaged 2020 season, but overall the team showed a lot of competitive fire and managed to finish with a 6-10 record.

For Bosa, the injury was nothing new, and he was disappointed to go down.

“(It’s) always a really tough time when you come off 2019 and you’re on top of the world and then start off well in your next season and it’s all taken away really quick. And it was tough,” he said. “Mentally, it’s really rough and when your body feels terrible your mind kind of goes to that place, but I had my mom and brother take care of me. As my body started to feel better, my mind followed. And then once you’re walking around and working out, all I really know how to do is work hard. Once you get past the initial pain of it then there’s really no other option but to come back better.”

After winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2019, Bosa is looking to return to his old form in 2021. Along with Dee Ford, the former Ohio State Buckeye will be one of the key cogs for the Niners’ defense this season. However, Bosa is unsure how he’ll hold up after missing and rehabbing for a full calendar year.

“You won’t really know how (my knee) responds until you take a real rep and have a big offensive lineman pushing on you and all that stuff,” he said. “So, we’re trying to simulate it as much as possible right now and my body’s responding really well. So, once I get out there and go against Trent (Williams) a few times, I think it’ll be a pretty quick confidence boost. You really wouldn’t want to have it any other way than practicing against the best so that it prepares you well for Sundays.”

There has been a shakeup however in the Niners system, as defensive coordinator Robert Saleh left the team to take the vacant head coach position for the New York Jets in the offseason. Kyle Shanahan remains with the team. As for Shanahan, he is excited to see Bosa’s return to the team this season.

“Nick takes care of himself and better than anyone I’ve ever been around,” he said. “I mean, the guy has got a one-track mind and it’s awesome. So you knew he’d come in great.”

Expectations are high for many teams around the NFL in 2021. For the San Francisco 49ers, if health does not derail Nick Bosa and other key players of the defense, the red and gold could see a return to the Super Bowl form of the 2019-20 season.