SANTA CLARA — “The goal,” coach Kyle Shanahan said, remains for Jimmy Garoppolo to be available by the NFC Championship Game or the Super Bowl.
If the 49ers advance that far while Garoppolo recovers from last month’s foot fracture, it figures to be with Brock Purdy at quarterback, and staying in that slot unless an injury unseats him.
Garoppolo is not running yet in his rehabilitation, and he’s kept weight off his foot while riding a knee scooter in locker room cameos the past couple of weeks.
“I think he can put a little weight on it,” Shanahan said Friday, “but he’s not out there running and stuff like that, so it’s a little bit away.”
A week after Trey Lance had follow-up surgery on his ankle, Shanahan said the 49ers were not surprised by it, that they were “warned” that stabilizing hardware might irritate a tendon.
Once “Trey told us about it right away, that was a good thing,” as the hardware got removed last Friday from his right fibula, with Shanahan adding that “the break healed and it healed really well.”
“Once they fixed the break, there was always worry that when you fix the break, (hardware) will that rub the wrong way or something like that,” Shanahan said. ” They fixed the break great, and then they knew they had to go in and fix that (hardware removal), which he’s known for a while.
“They went and cleaned it up and I think that even made him feel better, so he could move on from that. And he’s feeling great now with his rehab and I know he can’t wait to get to this offseason.”
Neither Lance, who got hurt in the Sept. 18 home opener, nor Garoppolo, who went down one series into a Dec. 4 win against Miami, have spoken on the record with the media since their injuries.
Rookie Brock Purdy will make his fifth straight start Sunday when the NFC West-champion 49ers (12-4) host the Arizona Cardinals (4-12) in their regular-season finale. The 49ers are currently slotted as the NFC’s No. 2 seed for the playoffs, with a chance to rise to No. 1 with a win and drop to No. 3 with a loss.
Shanahan does not seem intent on pulling Purdy to give backup Josh Johnson more action beyond his 11-snap cameo Dec. 11 against Tampa Bay.
“That’s a good bonus. I wouldn’t say a desire,” Shanahan said. “I feel fine with Josh. He’s been this league for a long time. He’s been in that role to where he hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time and he’s had to come in and do that at a spur of the moment, so I’m OK with Josh in that situation, but it always does help.”
David Blough will start for the Cardinals a second straight game; he is their fourth quarterback this season. Kyler Murray had anterior cruciate ligament surgery last week, and Colt McCoy is out with a concussion. Trace McSorley started two weeks ago but couldn’t stop a Cardinals’ losing streak that now stands at six.
Up until last Sunday’s 37-34 overtime win at the Raiders, Lance has been a sideline presence and sounding board for Purdy since he stepped in for Garoppolo. Lance began traveling with the 49ers in mid-November but has been part of meetings and around the team all season.
“Trey’s been great,” Shanahan said. “I haven’t had to go through it, but I’ve seen players do it and I can’t tell you how hard it is for guys when they get hurt at the beginning of the year because of their expectations going in, how big of a part of the team they are, especially when it’s the quarterback and then just like that their season’s over and Trey’s had to do the rehab hard.
“Once he started getting to travel with us and be a part of everything, I think it got a little bit easier,” Shanahan said, “but it’s always still a challenge for a guy. They want to be out there so bad. Trey’s handled it great. As good as any injured player I’ve ever been around, he stays positive, he comes off the right way, but I know it’s a challenge for him.”