SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In a season of seemingly uninterrupted, devastating injury news, the San Francisco 49ers may have scored their two biggest hits, ESPN sources Adam Schefter announced Monday that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle are expected to miss an extended period of time.
For Garoppolo, the exacerbation of his right ankle sprain, which occurred between 37 and 27 in the Seattle Seahawks loss on Sunday, is expected to last for at least six weeks and possibly longer if surgery is required, a source shared with Schefter With.
Despite initial optimism that Kittle had no fractures in his foot, further testing revealed a broken bone that will cost him about eight weeks, a source said. With eight games and one reunion remaining, Kittle’s season could be over.
Garoppolo and Kittle both left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter. Garoppolo seemed to pinch and play through his ankle earlier in the game, but it was removed at 2:02 pm. He hobbled into the locker room after walking 84 yards 11 of 16 with an interception for a passerby rating of 55.2.
Nick Mullens replaced Garoppolo and went 18-of-25 for 238 yards with two touchdowns for a pass rating of 128.4. After Garoppolo is out for an extended period of time, Mullens is set to return to the starting role, a job he held when Garoppolo missed two games with an ankle sprain earlier this season. C.J. Beathard will serve as a backup for Mullens.
Mullens said on Sunday that he would be ready to stand up for Garoppolo longer term if necessary.
“Anytime you can get out there and jump back from my last start it will definitely instill confidence,” said Mullens. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that the NFL is tough. It’s all about what you do next. That’s why I say to myself almost every day, ‘It’s all about what you do next.’ Good or bad, it’s all about what you do next. “
Kittle’s foot injury occurred less than two minutes after Garoppolo left when he overtook a 25-yard pass from Mullens. Kittle caught the catch but landed awkwardly and hobbled to the sidelines shortly after, then went to the locker room for further evaluation.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game that Kittle’s initial x-rays showed no breaks but that more testing would be needed to confirm it on Monday. Kittle, who signed a $ 75 million five-year contract extension during training camp, missed two games earlier this season with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Ross Dwelley replaced Kittle with the Seahawks and caught a touchdown from Mullens, though the Niners may soon get Jordan Reed back from a sprained knee to replace Kittle.
“I’m hoping for Jordan Reed this week, but I’m not sure at the moment,” Shanahan said on Sunday.
Kittle and Garoppolo are just the latest additions to a long Niners injury list that includes other prominent players like the defensive end Nick Bosa (torn ACL), Raheem Mostert (ankle sprain), receiver Deebo Samuel (strained Achilles tendon) and cornerback Richard Sherman (cocked calf).
Even before Kittle and Garoppolo are likely to end up in the injured reserve, the 49ers had the highest cap value of any player in the injured reserve this season at $ 54.2 million. In eight games, the Niners had three different leading passers-by, four different leading rushers, and four different leading receivers.
All of this wear and tear has taken its toll on the Niners’ changing room.
“It still hurts,” said defender Kyle Juszczyk. “Even if the guys keep dropping every game, it always hurts.”
The 49ers (4-4) don’t have much time to deal with their recent injuries. You are supposed to host the Green Bay Packers (5-2) on Thursday evening.