The 49ers have been without Jimmy Garoppolo since Week 14, but will he make his return from a foot injury for the NFC Championship game against the Eagles?
Most NFL teams are just one injury away from their season ending up in the tank.
For the San Francisco 49ers, who are down to their third-string quarterback, the exception to this rule seems to be fully in play.
Veteran signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo technically wasn’t QB1 on the Niners’ roster to open the regular season, of course. Yet that changed once second-year pro Trey Lance went down with a season-ending ankle injury way back in Week 2.
Garoppolo arguably had his best season as a pro in relief of Lance, completing 67.2 percent of his passes and 16 touchdowns thrown against four interceptions, all for a passer rating 103.0.
When Garoppolo suffered his own foot injury in Week 13, though, the door then opened for that third-string quarterback, rookie Brock Purdy.
Purdy has helped keep San Francisco’s win streak alive and into the postseason, netting his second victory in the NFL playoffs over the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round.
With the 49ers now poised to visit the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game, one can fairly wonder if they’d be better off with the more experienced Garoppolo under center instead of the first-year rookie.
Provided Garoppolo is healthy enough to return, of course.
Will Jimmy Garoppolo play for 49ers against Eagles?
There was substantial hope for Garoppolo to come back in the NFL playoffs, one report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter went as far as to say the veteran could return in the divisional round.
With the divisional round now in the history books, talk now turns to the NFC Championship game with regard to a would-be Garoppolo return from injury.
According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, who spoke with reporters on Monday morning after the Niners’ win over Dallas, the likelihood of Garoppolo returning against Philly isn’t likely.
“I don’t think so,” Shanahan responded when asked if Garoppolo was ready to come back. “I think he gets X-rayed tomorrow to see how things are going. I believe so. But, same as last week, I’d be very surprised if he was out there this week.”
Additional reports indicated Garoppolo wouldn’t unseat Purdy as the starter, but having Jimmy G in a position to be an experienced backup wouldn’t be terrible either.
Currently, the Niners’ reserve option for Purdy is veteran journeyman Josh Johnson.
San Francisco kicks off against Philadelphia on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. ET for the NFC Championship, and the winner will advance to Super Bowl LVII.