Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What Steve Young said about Jimmy Garoppolo’s injuries, 49ers’ chances vs. Packers

Jan 20, 2022 at 9:35 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, the San Francisco 49ers' second of the week. That's good news for the quarterback's availability against the Green Bay Packers this weekend. Not that there was ever any doubt that Garoppolo would play. He is pretty banged up, though. Not only has Garoppolo been dealing with the pain of throwing with a torn ligament in his right thumb, but now, he is dealing with a right shoulder sprain.

Saturday's playoff game will be a challenge. San Francisco is going against the top-seeded Packers, but Green Bay is well-rested while the 49ers have to prepare on a short week. Oh, and that game is at frigid Lambeau Field—at night.

Garoppolo suffered his shoulder injury during Sunday's playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys. What does that mean for the veteran quarterback heading into a frosty Divisional Playoff matchup?

"A bruised shoulder is a wide range of issues," Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young said Wednesday on KNBR's Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "I mean, a bruised shoulder can be like—it just hurts just to move it. Or, 'You know what? It feels pretty good. Once I get warmed up and shoot it up, I'll be fine.' It's hard to know.

"But if it's hurting, if you've got a shot in you, and you're trying to throw the football—and the cold doesn't help, by the way—and it still hurts to throw, you're warming up, and he's like, 'Dang, it hurts,' that's when there's a problem because now, it's in your head. Not because [it's in] your psychological head, in your functional head. In other words, 'I've got to go throw a ball,' and you go to throw it, and you can't throw it. And so that's the hard part.

"It just depends. It could be a huge problem, or it could be something that doesn't really bother you; no big deal. Only he knows. I guess the trainers would kind of have a sense of what he says, but only he knows how bad it is."

Many felt the 49ers could upset the Cowboys in the opening round of the playoffs. The Packers are a different beast, though. Thirty-eight-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers might be playing the best football of his career. He's a bona fide MVP candidate.

The 49ers, however, aren't the same squad the Packers beat 30-28 at Levi's Stadium in Week 3.

"I think we're a much better team now than we were then," tight end George Kittle said on Wednesday. "I think from all the ups and the downs, the wins, the losses, all the adversity that we've faced as an offense, all the game-winning drives we've had to [rely] on, just to give ourselves a chance to get into the playoffs, has allowed us to become a way better team."

Young agrees. But the 49ers will need to play their best football on Saturday. That means bullying the Packers with their dominant run game and punishing pass rush.

"This 49ers team is suddenly, in my mind, you could make a case, the team to beat because of who they've become," Young said. "And it's not necessarily certain superstars and everything else. It's just that's how tough-minded they are. Again, if they're running the football, explosive 10-yard runs here and there, the way that Kyle does it sets up so well for Jimmy ... There's a lot of reasons to think they can go in there and beat the Packers, I think."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Young below.

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