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Jimmy Garoppolo has ‘outside chance’ to return this year for 49ers


Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are leaving open the possibility quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns this season, though it’s considered a longshot.

The 49ers coach spoke to reporters Wednesday and confirmed that Garoppolo doesn’t have a Lisfranc injury and will avoid surgery on his broken left foot.

“It is not a Lisfranc (injury). They don’t have to do surgery on it. So, it’ll be a big recovery, but much less than what we anticipated,” Shanahan told reporters. “There’s that way outside chance late into the playoffs or something like that. But it’s just an outside chance. I’m not really real optimistic about that, but they didn’t rule it out.”

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The 49ers quarterback broke his foot on a sack during the first quarter of the 49ers’ 33-17 Week 13 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Brock Purdy, the team’s No. 3 entering the season, subbed in and finished 25-of-37 passing for 210 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception, resulting in an 88.8 passer rating.

The recovery timeline for Garoppolo is seven to eight weeks, according to reports. If Garoppolo is able to return then, he could be available around the divisional round of the playoffs should the 49ers advance that far. The divisional round starts the weekend of Jan. 21.

The 2022 season has been a roller coaster for the ninth-year veteran.

The 49ers tried to trade Garoppolo leading into this season. However, offseason shoulder surgery discouraged QB-needy teams, and Garoppolo wound up staying in San Francisco, where he agreed to a restructured contract. Garoppolo started off this year as a backup quarterback behind Trey Lance, but Lance’s season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 forced Garoppolo back into a starting role.

Garoppolo produced 2,437 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games this season, going 7-3 as the starter. He’s registered a 38-17 record in six seasons as a starter in San Francisco.

With Lance and Garoppolo out, Purdy, known as “Mr. Irrelevant” for being the last pick in the 2022 draft, is slated to be the 49ers’ starting signal-caller moving forward. The 49ers also signed veteran QB Josh Johnson this week.

“We have a lot of confidence in Brock (Purdy),” Shanahan said. “We’ve seen him in practice. Our players have (and) we have. That’s why we are confident in him. He hasn’t played a ton of football, so there is some unknown out there. But we know he has the ability to do it and the mentality to do it. I don’t like how we got to this point, but we’re definitely excited about the option we have.”

The 49ers (8-4) lead the NFC West and are on an NFL-best five-game winning streak.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.

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