Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo aggravated the high ankle sprain that has been bothering him for weeks during their loss to the Seahawks Sunday and is expected to miss “an extended period of time,” sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Meanwhile Kittle has a “small fracture” in his foot and will also miss extended time, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Garoppolo is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks and “possibly longer” if he ends up needing surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
In a follow-up tweet, Rapoport noted that it’s unclear if Kittle will be able to return this season. Either way, it sounds like both are headed for a stint on injured reserve (minimum three-game absences). Kittle is expected to be out eight weeks, Schefter tweets. It would be hard for things to be much worse from an injury standpoint for the defending NFC champions right now.
The 49ers have already dealt with significant injuries to key players like Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Richard Sherman, and many others. Nick Mullens played well in relief of Jimmy G agains Seattle and will presumably start moving forward, although he was temporarily replaced by C.J. Beathard as the number two a couple of weeks ago.
Kittle is one of the league’s best players and critical in both the run and pass games. He missed a couple of contests earlier this year with a knee injury. The NFC West is tougher than ever, and at 4-4 San Fran is in danger of slipping out of the playoff race. Their trade of Kwon Alexander for a draft pick Monday could signal they realize 2020 isn’t their year. Kyle Shanahan has gotten it done under bad circumstances in the past, but he really has his work cut out for him now.
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