Jimmy Garoppolo could return to action in six weeks

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo
Photo: Getty Images

It’s Wednesday, December 7th, and there’s still no clear picture of Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to action timeline.

Sunday, his season was declared over. Like Trey Lance in Week 2, Garoppolo’s leg rolled up while being tackled. Lance had a broken ankle and Garoppolo was in his leg.

Then on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Garoppolo no surgery will be required on the broken leg. He didn’t suffer a Lisfranc injury, so his actual injury recovery time is usually seven to eight weeks, so he was able to return to action during the playoffs.

Another day has passed and another update on Garoppolo’s injured leg. According to The Athletic’s David Lombardi, medical experts said that under the right circumstances, Garoppolo ready to play in six weeks. That could put him on the field in a 49ers wild-card game.

But according to Kyle Shanahan, that eventual scenario doesn’t stand much of a chance. He spoke to the media on Wednesday and confirmed that Garoppolo will not need surgery, but rehab should still keep him out until the playoffs.

The 49ers are a championship-level race machine, but you need someone in the driver’s seat who knows how to use the clutch. Brock Purdy may be able to figure out how to work him in, but the likelihood of him being able to switch as quickly as Garoppolo isn’t great.

Garoppolo will certainly feel natural pressure to get back on the field as quickly as possible to lead the team, but his NFL career is also at a crossroads right now. Whether or not they can lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl championship could go a long way in determining the future of football.

Don’t forget that the NFL, for all intents and purposes, told Garoppolo they didn’t want him. He and the 49ers were ready to move on from each other, and it would make sense to think there would be a robust trade market for a quarterback who has what it takes to lead a team to its second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons within a few games. For many other quarterbacks, the answer would be “yes.” For him, the answer was a resounding “no”.

There was so little interest that he returned to the 49ers on a restructured contract and spent the summer practicing on a different field than the rest of the team. Then Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2, and left tackle extraordinaire Trent Williams went down the following week and missed a month.

Like Garoppolo’s 2021 season, the 49ers got off to a slow start. Then, as Williams and other players returned to the lineup, the team improved. They also traded for Christian McCaffrey. The 49ers haven’t lost a game since Oct. 23.

Garoppolo had the opportunity to lead some talented 49ers teams to championships in 2019 and 2021. In both games, he collapsed late and the 49ers took the lead. Additionally, teams have watched tape on Garoppolo. They know he’s not a dynamic quarterback. You cannot change pieces that start negatively into positive ones. At least not with any regularity.

If the team is good, they can run an offense that only asks them to throw downfield when the game is wide open and not attempt many long throws outside of the numbers. Give Garoppolo a strong offensive line, players who can create after the catch, and a reliable running game, and he can lead a very good offense under these ideal circumstances. But that’s not good enough to justify trading away coveted draft picks or acquiring starter-caliber talent in exchange for the privilege of being paid a starting quarterback.

But if he actually wins a Super Bowl, the math can change. Even though Garoppolo is the same quarterback, with or without his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy, brilliance can still make players seem bigger than they really are. Combine that with the fact that Garoppolo will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, and he might be in for a lucrative contract.

The fairytale ending to this story is still available for Garoppolo, but only if the 49ers win with him under center. If they lose without him, it will be a tough free agent market. If the 49ers win a title with Brock Purdy as their starting quarterback, he might have to get used to life in a baseball cap.

There’s never a good time to break a leg, but the timing of this injury is especially bad for Garoppolo. He led arguably the best roster in the league, but also a roster struggling to make the playoffs due to early season losses. Now you have to hope that Mr. Irrelevant plays well enough to keep the 49ers in contention for the next five games, and that he stays healthy enough to suit up for the entire postseason.

Yes, 49ers fans and staff may be restless for the rest of the season, but the ramifications of this season in this situation are no bigger for anyone than Jimmy G.

Source: https://deadspin.com/there-is-a-lot-more-than-a-championship-on-the-line-wit-1849866107

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