Javon Kinlaw was supposed to be the 49ers’ much cheaper replacement for DeForest Buckner. So far, that has not panned out. He came out of college with knee issues and after an impressive second half of his rookie season, suffered a late-season injury against the Cowboys which set him back.
The 49ers tried to manage the injury for the start of the season, but the situation became untenable and Kinlaw underwent season-ending ACL reconstruction.
General manager John Lynch said at the time that Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery, was confident the problem had been found and sorted.
On Wednesday, talking to local reporters, Lynch expressed confidence again in Kinlaw, in the first real update since the surgery, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.
“He’s doing really well, he really is,” Lynch said. “It’s nice to see Javon around with a smile. He’s not in pain anymore and he’s a big man. I think the plan is he could be back during the offseason program but we want to make sure he is fully rehabbed.”
Lynch said the 49ers don’t want to rush Kinlaw, and that he eventually returned to the 49ers facility after getting individual rehab work done in Los Angeles.
He stressed the importance of taking time to make sure Kinlaw comes back the right way, which could mean missing part or all of training camp.
“He has such a high ceiling,” Lynch said. “We want to see him healthy… So we just need to make sure and be very diligent and we are committed to doing that. That he’s healthy before he returns and if that means training camp, that means training camp.”
Despite the difficulty of playing last season without Kinlaw, he said he believed it was the right choice. Read the original report from Lee Chan here.