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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Jimmy Garoppolo talks surprising surgery, 49ers requiring him to be local for rehab, not being 100 percent healthy yet

Oct 7, 2022 at 9:14 AM--

Everyone focused on Jimmy Garoppolo's thumb during the San Francisco 49ers' playoff run last season. However, it wasn't the thumb that was most concerning for the quarterback. Instead, Garoppolo was more concerned about his shoulder.

"The thumb started as the top thing," Garoppolo told The Athletic on Tim Kawakami's podcast. "And then when the shoulder thing happened against Dallas, when that happened, it was like, 'Forget about the thumb. We'll worry about that later.'"

Most wondered if Garoppolo would require surgery on his thumb during the offseason. It turns out the thumb was recovering fine on its own. The shoulder, however, was another story.

Garoppolo knew he wouldn't have much trade value if he couldn't throw the football. That's why he was so disappointed when his shoulder rehabilitation wasn't enough to make things right again.

"I think we went three or four weeks with that, maybe, and nothing was changing," Garoppolo said.

That's when Dr. Neal ElAttrache told Garoppolo that surgery was necessary because the shoulder was not going to heal on its own.

"In my mind ... I said, 'How am I going to get ready for the season now? I'm not going to know any of my new teammates,'" Garoppolo shared. "The doc was like, 'You're not going to be able to throw if you don't do this.'"

Kawakami asked Garoppolo about the 49ers being surprised by the news that surgery was needed. The team has admitted that the decision caught it off guard. After all, the 49ers were in talks with teams about a potential trade of Garoppolo. The surgery halted all of those talks.

"Well, I was surprised [that I needed surgery]," Garoppolo said. "... I was just as surprised as anyone."

The quarterback acknowledged that he always seeks to avoid surgery, if possible. But there was no choice in this situation. If he wanted to get back on the football field, the quarterback had to undergo the procedure.

Garoppolo did reveal that if the decision had been his, he would have continued to rehab in Los Angeles. However, the 49ers wanted the quarterback to be in the Santa Clara area for that process. That's why fans frequently saw Garoppolo working on a side field during training camp. The decision was disappointing for Garoppolo.

"I would have stayed down in L.A. because I was in a good spot in rehab," Garoppolo said. "We had a good thing going, things like that. They wanted me up here. The side field was my best friend during training camp."

When trade discussions failed to develop, the 49ers re-signed Garoppolo to a restructured one-year deal before the start of the season. He was thrust back into the starting lineup when Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury during Week 2.

Garoppolo admits that he still doesn't feel he's at 100 percent just yet.

"Rehab is a tricky thing because they say, 'You're back. You're healthy,'" he shared. "You're not completely back, and you're not completely healthy. I think every athlete knows that part of it. That's the tricky part, being in-season, still trying to get my arm where it needs to be, because you're playing that rep game, you're trying to get reps up early in the week, control it later in the week so you're not sore on Sundays.

"I've never been in this situation. I don't know who has. It's a different situation. But you've just got to handle it."

Garoppolo is just hoping things improve as the season progresses.


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