There was no word of it after the game in Dallas, but Kyle Shanahan told the media on Monday that Jimmy Garoppolo had suffered a slight shoulder sprain in his throwing arm.
As could be expected, this led to questions about whether the injury affected Garoppolo’s second half performance against the Cowboys and his availability for Saturday in Green Bay.
Garoppolo struggled throughout the second half, completing only five of 11 pass attempts for 39 yards and an interception, which led to some tense moments late in the game.
Here is what Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo and Mike McDaniel had to say about the injury before practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Question: Jimmy’s performance, his accuracy, was remarkably different in the second half. It looked like he got hurt on his last throw of the first half. Could you attribute any of that to his shoulder injury?
Kyle Shanahan: “You can ask him, but no, I don’t. I think he did it earlier than his last throw. I think he did it earlier in the second quarter, I think. But he had two throws that were off, and I personally don’t think it had to do with his shoulder.”
Question: Feel free to make excuses if you want here, but obviously, your performance in the second half wasn’t as good as your performance in the first half. How much, if any, did that have to do with your shoulder injury?
Jimmy Garoppolo: “Well, I mean the shoulder, yeah, being a quarterback, it affects every throw. So, it definitely had some impact, but if I’m out there and I’m being put in that spot, I still have to make the plays that I normally make. So, no excuses or anything like that. The injury is what it is. We’re all dealing with stuff now.”
Question: How is Jimmy Garoppolo doing? What do you anticipate him being able to do at practice?
Mike McDaniel: “With the way Jimmy takes care of himself at this point in the season it would be like pulling teeth to get him not to do everything he can to perform at his highest level. So, it’s a bump and a bruise that for him is a big deal, but Jimmy is doing whatever it takes so he can perform at the level he needs to on Saturday. I don’t have a crystal ball but not too concerned, the practice is yet to happen, but I’d anticipate him to throw it well today.”
There has been no official word from the team about whether Garoppolo will start on Saturday. But it would be shocking if he is not in the huddle when the San Francisco offense takes the field for the first time.
Injury or not, it’s clear that Shanahan believes Garoppolo gives the 49ers the best chance to win, not Trey Lance.
Shanahan showed this in week 18 by inserting Garoppolo back into the starting lineup for a must-win game in Los Angeles instead of sticking with Lance, who was coming off a strong start a week earlier against Houston.
Despite up and down performances against Los Angeles and Dallas, Garoppolo has made the belief Shanahan has in his abilities pay off by making enough plays to help his team win and advance.
Garoppolo is 20-6 on the road as the starting quarterback in San Francisco, the second-best total since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, and he will have need to play well on Sunday for the 49ers to defeat the Packers in Green Bay.
With the weather expected to be in the low 20s and a chance for snow, Garoppolo, a Midwest native, is ready for the challenge.
“Yeah. I mean, I’ve played in the cold my whole life, so I don’t think it’ll be anything too crazy with that,” said Garoppolo. “But yeah just learning to adjust, changing whatever you have to change, but that’s what this week of practice is for. You kind of get used to those things, so we’re in a good spot though.”