The 49ers thought Jimmy Garoppolo was absolutely done for the season. That still appears to be the case, but there is a small window of opportunity open for Garoppolo to return.
Kyle Shanahan provided an update on Wednesday, saying that Garoppolo’s “best-case” scenario is that his foot heals in 7-8 weeks, and that it typically takes “a little bit more after that” to get back into football shape.
Seven weeks from Garoppolo’s injury would be the Divisional Round weekend, meaning at earliest, and assuming a perfect recovery, Garoppolo could return for the NFC Championship. But that’s with a very rapid timeline and astoundingly quick snap back to football shape.
Shanahan and other players in the locker room, like Fred Warner, didn’t express much hope that Garoppolo would return. Their excitement was based around the fact that Garoppolo avoided ligament damage, which, in a Lisfranc injury, can often be a tricky recovery.
John Lynch joined the Murph & Mac Show on Friday and provided an update on Garoppolo. He, too, was pointing towards an understanding that Garoppolo is a free agent, and it might not be in his best interest to try and rush a return, even if his healing does happen on the fastest timeline.
That said, the 49ers are keeping the light on for him. They have just two injured reserve return slots left, with both expected to be used on Elijah Mitchell and Javon Kinlaw.
Lynch said the team will not move Garoppolo to injured reserve.
“As of right now, we’re not gonna move Jimmy to IR,” Lynch said. “We’re just gonna carry him on our roster and we’re gonna kind of see how this rehab process goes.
He emphasized that the the news was based around the lack of there being ligament damage, and that the team is focused on Garoppolo taking his time to recover properly.
“There’s a healing process that has to take place. How quickly it will heal? That’s in the good lord’s hands,” Lynch said. “And so we’ll sit back and see. I think we were encouraged, but I think Kyle said it’s also highly unlikely. It’s a big ask and Jimmy’s got a really bright future and a lot of years in front of him. We’re not going to put him in a bad position.
So we’ll continue to consult with the doctors and let them kind of guide that decision, but there was some encouraging news earlier this week.”
For now, the 49ers aren’t shutting the door on Garoppolo’s return. There are no roster crunch decisions at the moment, which makes retaining Garoppolo on the active roster much more amenable.
A return probably won’t happen, and it’s predicated on a deep playoff run, but it’s not out of the question.
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