San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo when the quarterback returns from a high right ankle sprain, even if it isn’t until next season.
“I expect Jimmy to be our starter next year,” Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday. “I expect him to come and play with us this year. We have six games left, we are not out of the playoffs yet. I have been on a team that was 3-6 going into a bye week that ended up winning their division. I think we have guys on this team that are capable of finishing this the right way.”
Garoppolo has sustained two sprains to his upper right ankle this season, limiting him to six games and forcing him onto injured reserve on Nov. 3. Garoppolo, who most recently got hurt against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 1, was expected to be sidelined for six weeks, making him eligible to return for a few games at season’s end if everything goes as expected.
“We’ve got to do it one game at a time, and I hope Jimmy can be a part of that,” Shanahan said. “But to think that we’ve made any decisions on anybody going into the future isn’t the case. Jimmy has won a lot of games for us. It’s a lot harder to win games when he’s not here. Just hoping we can get him back.”
Nick Mullens owns a 1-3 record as a starter this season in place of Garoppolo. The 49ers have dropped their past two games, mustering just 30 points combined against the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. Mullens has thrown for 1,390 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions this season.
Garoppolo, who arrived in San Francisco in 2017 via a trade with the Patriots, has led the 49ers to a record of 24-9 as a starter, including the regular season and postseason. The team is 5-23 with someone else starting under Shanahan.
San Francisco (4-6) has a bye this week. A combination of how fast Garoppolo heals coupled with the 49ers’ playoff chances that will determine if he comes back this season. Garoppolo elected not to have surgery.
The 49ers play the Los Angeles Rams (6-3) in Week 12 on Nov. 29.
“I’m really holding out hope that Jimmy can get back and play some games with us,” Shanahan said. “I’m hoping that we can change a little bit of our outcomes so when he does come back and hopefully a few other people, they’re coming back for a reason.”
Running backs Tevin Coleman (knee) and Raheem Mostert (ankle), receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring), cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (hamstring) are scheduled to return against the Rams, according to Shanahan.
–Field Level Media