49ers stars Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon won’t be fully cleared until training camp
San Francisco 49ers players had some brutal injury luck last season. Running back Jerick McKinnon tore an ACL before the season even started, and franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore one just a few weeks into it.
Both players have reportedly been progressing well, but that doesn’t mean they’re that close to a full return. The team is hoping to have both players back to full strength by training camp, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. However, Garoppolo is already throwing and participating in some team drills, while McKinnon has been sidelined for almost everything.
“[Garoppolo] won’t be cleared for full team until training camp,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s on the same plan as [McKinnon]. If [McKinnon] only threw the ball we’d let him do seven-on-seven too, but we can’t have the risk of guys around his legs,” the offensive guru explained.
This offseason is undoubtedly more important for McKinnon than it is for Garoppolo, so it’s a shame he can’t get more work in. Garoppolo is the unquestioned starter, while McKinnon will need to fight for playing time.
The 49ers’ backfield is very crowded, and McKinnon won’t just be handed his starting job back. The team signed Tevin Coleman this offseason, who Shanahan has a long history with from their time together in Atlanta, and promising third-year player Matt Breida is still with the team.
That being said, Garoppolo is obviously the team’s most important piece. There was a ton of buzz surrounding the team heading into last season because of Garoppolo’s stellar play down the stretch in 2017, but we never got to see their full potential. Now expected to be fully healthy, heading into 2019, there will be a lot of pressure to deliver.