SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo tore his left ACL last Sunday and will miss the rest of the 49ers season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed this during his Monday afternoon press conference.
Before Garoppolo has surgery, he will have to wait until the swelling subsides in his knee, which could take up to two weeks. Then, the doctors will determine if he injured any other ligaments beside his ACL.
“I don’t think you ever know for sure until you open it up,” Shanahan said somberly, referring to Garoppolo’s left knee. “It seems with all ACL (injuries) there’s always some other stuff in there. But, the message I got today was fairly good news, relatively speaking.”
The 49ers expect Garoppolo to make a full recovery by the start of next season. They even expect him to participate during OTAs next May, although he may not do much during those practice sessions. “I know he’ll be able to sit there and throw and do things like that,” Shanahan said.
Garoppolo tore his ACL with 5:55 remaining in the 49ers 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. At that time, the 49ers were losing by 14 points, and it was third-and-goal from the 20-yard line.
Garoppolo took the snap from the center, avoided a sack in the pocket, scrambled to his left and ran up the sideline for 12 yards. He looked like he would run out of bounds to safety.
But, he didn’t. He kept running in bounds, cut hard on his left leg and snapped his ACL.
What did Shanahan think when he saw Garoppolo try to fight for an extra yard?
“Why didn’t you just get out of bounds?” Shanahan said. “You see some guys get out of bounds, and you’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to do.’ And then you have something like this, and you’re reminded why you do coach that and why quarterbacks should do it (run out of bounds). I think that’s something Jimmy will probably look at differently going forward, because I know he’ll remember this the rest of his life.”
And he probably will wear a knee brace on his left leg the rest of his career.
Garoppolo was not wearing a brace when he suffered the injury. These days, many right-handed quarterbacks wear a brace specifically on their left leg, the leg they plant on when they throw, to prevent or reduce the severity of knee injuries. The brace is a precaution. Like a seat belt.
Tom Brady wears a brace on his left knee. So does Andrew Luck, Jared Goff Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, who played for Kyle Shanahan in 2015 and 2016 when Shanahan was the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.
Did Shanahan ever discuss with Garoppolo the possibility of wearing a brace?
“Never,” Shanahan said. “Never discussed it with any quarterback unless they’ve had a knee injured before.”
Maybe that’s something Shanahan should look at differently going forward.
With Garoppolo out for the season, the 49ers new starting quarterback is second-year player C.J. Beathard. He appeared in seven games last season, started five, completed just 54.9 percent of his passes and posted a subpar quarterback rating of 69.2. He also got sacked 19 times, and suffered a knee contusion and a hip strain. He stands up under punishment and takes punishment.