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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan says Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon might play during preseason to overcome mental hurdles

Apr 1, 2019 at 9:30 AM--

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon are going through their rehabs together. The two suffered season-ending ACL injuries about three weeks apart this past September, and the San Francisco 49ers hope that both will be significant contributors in 2019.

They will need to get healthy first.

Garoppolo is expected to be medically cleared for training camp, and head coach Kyle Shanahan expects him to start throwing and doing some non-contact 7-on-7 work during organized team activities, which kick off in late-May.

McKinnon is a different story. Being a running back means more potential risk, even in practice. During non-contact drills, McKinnon will still have to make on-field cuts and simulate avoiding defenders.

The 49ers plan to be cautious with both Garoppolo and McKinnon. Shanahan joined the latest Adam Schefter podcast and was asked about his recovering players.

"We're going to be extremely patient with them, extremely patient with Jet," Shanahan responded. "The same with Jimmy. I know Jet's going to help us out a lot this year. We were definitely counting on him last year, and it was unfortunate, but I'm happy for him he's coming back."

Each will likely get some work in training camp but is Shanahan willing to play them during preseason?

"If their bodies can, I think that's a good thing for them," Shanahan answered. "They want to test it out. I feel like that's more of a mental thing. If your body can take it and the doctors say it, and they feel confident with it, I think it's good to go out in a real-game situation and get that confidence because we're not going to let someone tackle [Garoppolo] in practice.

"A lot of times, guys want to go out and get tackled just so they can get that mental breakthrough so when they go into Week 1, they're not thinking about it."

You can listen to the entire interview with Shanahan below. The conversation starts at about the 20-minute mark.

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