He looked fine after the 49ers lost to the Titans, but Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a serious hand injury has led to some pretty wild conspiracies.
Garoppolo’s shoddy on-field play during the Niners’ prime-time Week 16 loss to the Tennessee Titans did him no favors, but the chatter surrounding his abilities is nothing new. It’s also not new to discuss his injuries.
Speaking of the latter, Garoppolo apparently suffered an injury during that game to his throwing hand, which head coach Kyle Shanahan explained to reporters on Monday in the following Q&A sequence:
"Media: As far as Jimmy’s right thumb injury, was that a sort of follow through, pass type of injury where he struck something on a follow through? Shanahan: No, it was on his sack, I believe it was the end of the second quarter, when the guy drove him into the ground. Ended up hitting his thumb on the play. Media: Is the thumb fractured. How’s it healing or what is it looking like? Shanahan: No, it’s a thumb sprain, so I think you guys know how those are. It didn’t feel great today. He wasn’t able to throw today and we’ll see how it is on Wednesday. Hopefully it’ll get better."
Within minutes of Shanahan’s the presser, ESPN’s Adam Schefter corroborated the injury news but contradicted Shanahan’s statements about the fracture:
So tough for the fanbase. Who should it believe?
Was Shanahan trying to cover up his quarterback’s injury? Or has he become so disenfranchised with Garoppolo that he’s willing to mock up a non-existent injury to open the door for San Francisco’s highly prized NFL Draft possession, quarterback Trey Lance?
And who leaked the contradictory report to Schefter?
As you can see, no shortage of conspiracy theory-driving questions here.
Jimmy Garoppolo Conspiracy No. 1: 49ers concocted the injury to start Trey Lance
Garoppolo wasn’t good versus the Titans, throwing two interceptions and nearly a third, while also missing a wide-open fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, for what would have been a walk-in touchdown.
Shanahan, whose acquisition of Lance capped off an offseason-long effort to move on from Garoppolo, finally had enough of his veteran quarterback, right? An injury that didn’t seem apparent at the time, including Garoppolo playing through it, suddenly popping up days later after the game seems suspicious.
Especially, as some within the fanbase pointed out, Garoppolo certainly didn’t appear to favor his throwing hand in the postgame presser:
He even opened a water bottle without discomfort.
A made-up injury could have opened up the door for Lance to start in Week 17 against the Houston Texans, yes, without Shanahan risking further quarterback controversies between the rookie and Garoppolo.
Except, as Niners Wire’s Kyle Madson pointed out in the Twitter thread below, it’s hard to buy into the notion Shanahan and the 49ers would attempt such a thing:
You can possibly question the first few questions. But the statement about Garoppolo “green lighting it” rings true. Knowing full well he’s likely gone from the Niners in 2022, why would he sign off on a fake injury?
No conspiracy to be had here.