Multiple serious injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo convinced the 49ers it was time to look at other quarterbacking options, and Jimmy G’s injury history is concerning.
One of the prime reasons the San Francisco 49ers traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall was because of the recent and unfortunate injury history fellow quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has had during his four-year stint with the Niners.
Despite previously being the league’s highest-paid quarterback after signing a then-record five-year, $137.5 million deal, Garoppolo’s time with San Francisco is now on notice.
And head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t hesitate to point out how injuries were the reason why the 49ers moved up in the draft, telling reporters last April:
"The biggest thing with Jimmy is his injuries that’s been very tough for us when he’s been hurt. It’s happened two out of these three years, and that’s where it starts and Jimmy knows that. I’ve been very upfront with him with everything."
Garoppolo’s injury history with the Niners is of current interest, yet the total history goes back well before his time in San Francisco.
Jimmy Garoppolo injury history with 49ers
It’s an odd reason why, but even-year numbers haven’t exactly been kind to Jimmy G, namely the last even years with the 49ers.
Go figure that one out.
Jimmy Garoppolo foot injury, 2022
In Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot injury after arguably playing the best football during his Niners tenure.
Jimmy Garoppolo hand and shoulder injuries, 2021
In Week 16, Garoppolo took a sack against the Tennessee Titans and landed on his throwing hand, resulting in a UCL ligament tear and fracture on his thumb.
Speculation suggested he could miss multiple weeks after missing Week 17 against the Houston Texans, opening up the door for rookie Trey Lance to get the start. Then, when the Niners faced the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Jimmy G suffered a sprained shoulder that ultimately required offseason surgery and partially derailed San Francisco’s attempts to trade him.
Jimmy Garoppolo calf injury, 2021
Garoppolo suffered a calf injury on the opening drive of the Niners’ Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks, which caused him to exit at halftime and miss the remainder of that particular game.
He subsequently was ruled out the following game in Week 5, giving way to Lance.
Jimmy Garoppolo high-ankle sprains, 2020
In Week 2 against the New York Jets, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams landed awkwardly on Garoppolo’s right ankle, ultimately resulting in a high-ankle sprain that forced him to exit at halftime.
Garoppolo returned in Weeks 5 through 8, but it was readily apparent the ankle was still bothering him. Already not boasting a strong arm, Garoppolo’s passes lacked even more zip, and he was clearly hobbling within the pocket.
On Nov. 1 in a game against the Seattle Seahawks, Shanahan pulled Garoppolo in the fourth quarter and later told reporters the ankle injury had flared up again.
The Niners placed Jimmy G on injured reserve, and he didn’t see the field again in 2020, limiting his total games played to just six.
Jimmy Garoppolo torn ACL, 2018
The season after San Francisco acquired Garoppolo was filled with hype, as Jimmy G helped engineer a five-game win streak to close out 2017.
In Week 3 on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, though, Garoppolo was trying to lead a second-half comeback but ultimately suffered a torn ACL after trying to scramble along the left sideline while awkwardly trying to stay in bounds.
The non-contact injury forced the quarterback to miss the rest of the season, leading to the 49ers going 4-12 on the year and earning the 2019 No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick.
Jimmy Garoppolo injury history with Patriots
The Niners were fully aware Garoppolo had a small injury history with the team that traded him to San Francisco, the New England Patriots.
And not surprisingly, it was in an even year, too.
Jimmy Garoppolo shoulder sprain, 2016
New England needed Jimmy G to start the first four games of the year due to quarterback Tom Brady‘s suspension for the Deflategate scandal.
Garoppolo started and won the Pats’ season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. But during the second quarter in the Week 2 home bout against the Miami Dolphins, he took a hit from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso, separating Garoppolo’s AC joint in his shoulder, which forced him out the next two games and led to New England fielding third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett instead until Brady returned in Week 5.
Ironically, Garoppolo didn’t deal with injuries until he reached the NFL ranks, boasting a clean slate of health during his collegiate years at Eastern Illinois.
Predicting Jimmy Garoppolo injuries with 49ers in 2021
There’s no exact science behind this, but the folks over at Sports Injury Predictor have done their best to weigh out the averages and predictions for injuries heading into 2021.
Unfortunately for Garoppolo and the Niners, Jimmy G is in the upper tier of quarterbacks most likely to be injured this season.
Currently, Sports Injury Predictor predicts a 32-percent chance Garoppolo suffers an injury this season that’ll force him to miss at least two quarters. That percentage ranks him tied for seventh most of all listed signal-callers.
The same projection also predicts Garoppolo misses 1.2 games this year, meaning there’s a real chance San Francisco is compelled to roll out Lance in a context outside of just giving the rookie some meaningless field time.