When the NFL schedule came out, the Thursday Night Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers looked like a tasty matchup. Both teams, in theory, were supposed to be toward the top of the NFC standings; the winner would gain a valuable edge in the conference standings. When the teams take the field, though, things will be quite a bit different.
Unfortunately for their fans, the San Francisco 49ers will be without two of their biggest names: Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle. Inopportune injuries have knocked both men out of action, potentially for the rest of the season.
The San Francisco 49ers offense will be a shell of itself on Thursday
Last season, the San Francisco 49ers defense stole the show. On Thursday night, they’ll have to hope that unit steps up since the offense will be missing an unbelievable number of players.
No matter which position you pick, the Niners are probably missing at least one or two players. As mentioned above, Jimmy Garoppolo is out of action, leaving Nick Mullens to start; tight ends George Kittle and Jordan Reed are both on injured reserve. At running back, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are also out of action.
Beyond those “normal” injuries, the 49ers are also dealing with the fallout of an internal COVID-19 outbreak. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive for the virus earlier this week, knocking him out of action; Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Trent Williams have also landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to their close contact with Bourne.
Why isn’t Jimmy Garoppolo playing for the San Francisco 49ers?
Earlier in the year, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ankle injury, knocking him out of action for a few weeks. Unfortunately for the team, they’re experiencing deja vu all over again.
During last Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain; while it’s the same leg as last time, it’s apparently an entirely new injury. This one, though, could keep the quarterback out of action for a much longer time. Even if Jimmy G doesn’t need surgery, he’ll likely miss most of the season.
“When you have those high ankle sprains, you reinjure them a lot,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “But it was different the way that he did it, so it’s basically doing it all over again in a different way. … Whatever’s best for him, long term, is obviously what we’ll decide on. But if he does need the surgery, then it’ll be all year; if not, then hoping six weeks, get a chance to get back at the end.”
George Kittle won’t be suiting up either because of injury
If you were throwing a backup quarterback into the action, you’d want to give him a security blanket to target whenever the pressure ratchets up. While, under normal circumstances, that would be George Kittle, the San Francisco 49ers will also be without their top tight end.
Shortly after Garoppolo left the game against Seattle, Kittle also limped off the field; the team later learned that he had fractured a bone in his foot. He’ll go on injured reserve and is expected to miss about eight weeks of action but, if you ask the tight end himself, he’ll be ready in a fraction of the time.
“I think they told me eight weeks,” Shanahan explained. “Kittle says two, but that’s how he rolls. But that’s why he’ll go on IR. If it’s better than what they’re saying, then he’ll have a chance to come back this year, but eight weeks is eight weeks.”