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SEATTLE – San Francisco All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman left Sunday's NFC championship game in the fourth quarter after suffering a serious left knee injury.
Bowman was injured with 8:45 left as he forced a fumble near the goal line. Bowman stripped the ball from Jermaine Kearse at the San Francisco 1. Kearse was hit by Eric Reid and was knocked into Bowman's extended left leg. Bowman's left knee bent the severely inward. Players in the pile trying to find the fumble immediately started waving to the 49ers bench for help.
Bowman was lifted onto a cart and immediately taken off the field.
Early in the game, the 49ers lost starting left guard Mike Iupati to an ankle injury suffered in the second quarter. Iupati was injured on Anthony Dixon's 1-yard touchdown dive.
Iupati was down on the field for several minutes, then had to be helped to the sideline by teammates and was putting very little weight on his right leg. Iupati eventually was taken to the locker room on a cart.
After receiving X-rays, the 49ers said he would not return.
The 49ers lost running back LaMichael James for a brief time after getting hit by Seattle's Ricardo Lockette on a punt return.
James was on his back on the field for several minutes before being helped to the sideline with his arms around trainers.
James had attempted to field the punt from Seattle's Jon Ryan on the first play of the second quarter, but the ball hit off his chest. As he attempted to reach for the ball, Lockette hit James hard to the turf.
The 49ers announced that James was questionable to return, but he returned to field a kickoff later in the second quarter.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org