The San Francisco 49ers started this week with the belief that Jimmy Garoppolo was done for the season after breaking his foot early in a win over the Dolphins on Sunday.
Brock Purdy, who played an impressive game in Garoppolo’s stead, will become the starter and, in doing so, is the first Mr. Irrelevant (the last pick in the Draft) to start in the NFL. It’s quite the story, particularly considering the 49ers are among the top contenders in the NFC and have genuine aspirations at winning the Super Bowl. Purdy’s job won’t be that much different from Jimmy G’s, as his directive is to get the ball in the hands of guys like Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey in space and let them work. The Niners offense figures to take even fewer deep shots and lean even more heavily on the rushing attack with Purdy in, but against Miami there wasn’t a hugely noticeable change in how they operated.
Still, having Garoppolo would be far preferred to a rookie, and on Tuesday word broke from Adam Schefter that it’s possible, should the Niners make a deep playoff run, they could get Jimmy G back after doctors determined he didn’t need surgery.
Sources: Doctors concluded today that 49ers' QB Jimmy Garoppolo does not need foot surgery, it is not a Lisfranc injury, and if rehab goes smoothly, he could have a chance to return in 7-8 weeks, making him a potential playoff contributor. pic.twitter.com/beYu1Pa9KU
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2022
There are a ton of ifs at play here, not the least of which is the part about rehab having to go well. That’s not a guarantee, and neither is the Purdy-led Niners making it far enough in the playoffs to get to where Garoppolo could return. Seven weeks (depending on when they start the clock) would be the Divisional Round, while eight weeks would mean San Francisco would have to be in the NFC Championship Game. At that point, they’d have to decide if Garoppolo having sat out two months is a better option than Purdy, who would’ve won them two playoff games to get to the NFC title game.
That said, it’s generally good news that Garoppolo won’t need surgery and hopefully he can make a speedy and full recovery. If the Niners are in a position to have to make a tough decision on who starts an NFC Championship Game between he and Purdy, I think that’s a choice they’d be thrilled to have to make.