Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle injuries effectively end SF 49ers season

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers with George Kittle #85 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers with George Kittle #85 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

If you thought the SF 49ers’ 2020 season couldn’t get worse, it has. Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle could miss the rest of the year.

Let’s face it, SF 49ers fans. 2020 wasn’t going to be the “revenge tour” year anyway.

Not after a sub-.500 start at the quarter mark of the season. Not after dropping ugly games to the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and, most recently, the Seattle Seahawks. Perhaps the Niners could squeak into the playoffs as a Wild Card team, but that would have been under the best of circumstances.

And with a completely healthy roster.

That’s something the SF 49ers don’t have, particularly after having 14 players already on injured reserve entering the halfway point of the season. And the list will get exceptionally worse, this time with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle on it.

Garoppolo re-aggravated the high-ankle sprain he suffered in Week 2 against the NY Jets, which has forced him in and out of the lineup ever since. Head coach Kyle Shanahan pulled him from what was turning into an ugly loss against the Seahawks last Sunday, giving way to No. 2 quarterback Nick Mullens for the rest of the game.

One of Mullens’ passes, intended for Kittle, was caught but ultimately resulted in the All-Pro tight end gingerly limping off the field and back into the team’s locker room.

Well, the following bit of news from ESPN’s Adam Schefter doesn’t exactly ring hope to either player’s chances to return anytime soon:

At 4-4, still last place within the division and at the No. 9 seed in the NFC playoff picture, it’s probably safe to say San Francisco should punt on its 2020 campaign. Perhaps the front office already realized this, trading away veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander in a salary-dump move.

And with the NFL trade deadline a day away, there’s a good chance more sell-off moves are in the works.

The Niners may manage to win a handful of games with Mullens under center, and perhaps Kittle’s absence opens up the door for other tight ends, Jordan Reed and/or Ross Dwelley, to showcase their value between now and Week 17.

But as far as the SF 49ers being in the playoff picture, it’s not happening.

They’ll never say that, of course. There needs to be something to play for over the second half of the season. Yet the injury bug has bitten the Niners far too hard in 2020, and it’s time the franchise thinks forward and considers what to do next year instead.

If there’s some solace, though, losing Garoppolo to a season-ending ACL tear in 2018 ultimately landed San Francisco EDGE Nick Bosa in the following year’s NFL Draft.

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Perhaps losing Bosa, Garoppolo and Kittle for the bulk of 2020 will net the Niners something rewarding in 2021.

At least that’s the hope now.