The San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have played this tune before, and everyone is tiring of it.
The Niners’ veteran starter missed the second half of Sunday’s 28-21 Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, sidelined by a right calf injury. Doctors have yet to determine the seriousness of the damage, with an MRI scheduled for Monday, October 4.
But before any tests have been conducted or any results analyzed, Garoppolo told reporters in his own words that he expects to miss multiple starts, adding he “felt something go” when he injured the muscle on a play during the first half.
“I’m hopeful it’ll just be a couple weeks, something like that,” Garoppolo said during the postgame press conference.
He added that he does not believe he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan’s comments were less predictive than were his quarterback’s, as he shied away from optimism or pessimism when speaking to reporters Sunday.
“We don’t know yet,” Shanahan said when asked the specifics and extent of Garoppolo’s injury. “That’s what we’ve got to check up on here after this game.”
“He got hurt sometime in the first half,” Shanahan continued. “He said he got stepped on. I’m not sure which play. But he played for a while with it. He didn’t think it was that bad at the time. Then about a minute before halftime ended, and trying to get it going, he just couldn’t push off it. So, right at the end of halftime, we realized he couldn’t go.”
Injury a Common Theme For Garoppolo Since Arrival in San Francisco
Even without scientific evidence, the Niners quarterback is uniquely qualified to diagnose himself and estimate a return timetable from injury. He has plenty of previous experience with it since arriving in San Francisco.
Since signing a five-year contract worth $137.5 million with the Niners in 2018, Garoppolo has started 29 games and missed 23, per ESPN.com. He missed 13 starts in 2018 and 10 starts in 2020. In 2019, when Garoppolo was healthy enough to start every game, the Niners finished their season in the Super Bowl.
The calf is the latest problem area at the end of long list of them during the quarterback’s eight-year career. Garoppolo has also torn an ACL, sprained a shoulder and suffered two high ankle sprains as a professional.
On Sunday, he told media that it is all simply getting old. Cam Inman, of the Bay Area Sports Group, tweeted video of the comments.
“#49ers Jimmy Garoppolo gets emotional saying “it’s old” getting injured again,” Inman tweeted.
Backup Trey Lance Will Have Steep Learning Curve
Backup QB Trey Lance, a rookie the Niners selected with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, put forth a solid effort against the Seahawks.
Lance went 9 of 18, throwing for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed the ball on 7 occasions, gaining 41 yards in the process. But after assuming the helm tied 7-7 to begin the second half, the young signal-caller was unable to out-duel veteran Russell Wilson.
Shanahan implied Lance has a lot of room for improvement when he suggested after the game that the rookie was assuming more responsibility faster than the head coach would have preferred.
“Hopefully, Jimmy’s better, and not as bad as we think but Trey is here for a reason,” Shanahan said. “You want to give him the time. You want him to be fully ready. But you don’t always have that luxury.”
Lance will have to make strides quickly to help San Francisco right the ship following two consecutive losses, as the Niners (2-2) are set to square off with the undefeated Arizona Cardinals (4-0) Sunday, October 10 in the team’s first divisional road game of the season.