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Report: Kwon Alexander has chance to play in divisional round

The 49ers could get a big piece of their defense back in the playoffs. We break down the latest news surrounding linebacker Kwon Alexander.

San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey during the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers could get a huge boost in the Divisional round. Linebacker Kwon Alexander has been rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle and could join Houston Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt in making a quick return from what is normally a lengthy injury. Alexander has made enough progress that the 49ers believe he has a good chance of playing in the Divisional round, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Alexander suffered his injury in Week 9, four days after Watt suffered his own torn pectoral injury. Watt returned for Saturday’s Wild Card game and played in 61 percent of the team’s snaps while wearing a harness. He said after the game the plan had been to play fewer.

Alexander returned to practice this past week as the team went through their bye week. The 49ers opened his window to return from injured reserve with that practice and will decide this week what his status will be.

The 49ers defense has been known for its pass rush, but Alexander’s work has been critical to the defense. He has played the weak side spot, and has been a key playmaker. In eight games, he had 34 tackles, a half-sack, an interception, four passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Bill Barnwell noted that when Alexander, Nick Bosa, and Dee Ford were on the field together, opposing quarterbacks had a QBR of 3.0. Ford is also expected back, meaning they would have the trio on the field for next Saturday’s Divisional round matchup.