|Photo by Florida Memory via Wikimedia|
"He looks like a different guy now since that procedure… I think he’s going to have a great offseason and look forward to his progress very, very much," Harbaugh said when talking about Carradine's chances of seeing the field.Medical opinion behind Carradine's prognosis supports Harbaugh's optimism. Arthrofibrosis, the development of scar tissue, causes loss of motion. Good for Carradine that the condition is reversible with proper treatment and aggressive rehabilitation.
The 49ers expect Carradine to make a big contribution this year most likely as a situational pass rusher. Even with a promising outlook the plan is to ease Carradine into his NFL career. Although it has less to do with his health and more to do with him becoming accustomed with a different style of play.
Prior to his injury, Tank was one of Florida State's top defensive linemen, racking up 11 sacks in 11 games, 13 tackles for loss and 80 tackles his senior year, his first year starting in a Division I program. He is only one of four players the 49ers drafted since 2012 with serious injuries. The others were offensive guard Joe Looney (fourth-round, 2012 NFL Draft), running back Marcus Lattimore (fourth-round, 2013 NFL Draft) and DL Quinton Dial (fifth-round, 2013 NFL Draft).
Had it not been for his medical issues, Carradine would likely have been a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Both his and Lattimore's return will give the 49ers a huge boost on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball come August.