Shanahan clarifies expectations for Jimmy G's potential return


SANTA CLARA — It’s not officially over, yet.

Close, but not yet.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who appeared likely to have sustained a season-ending fractured foot in Week 13, will not require surgery, as originally anticipated, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed on Wednesday.

If Garoppolo’s recovery goes well, he could heal in 7-to-8 weeks, under a best-case scenario, Shanahan said. But that does not mean he would be ready to play football during that time frame.

“It’s not a Lisfranc (mid-foot fracture) and they don’t have to do surgery on it,” said Shanahan, who added that Garoppolo did not sustain any ligament damage, either. “So it’ll be a big recovery but much-less than we anticipated, which is awesome. In the offseason, he should be good to go right away, so it won’t be like last year.

“There’s a way outside chance (to be available) late in the playoffs or something like that, but it’s just an outside chance. We’re not real optimistic about that, but they didn’t rule it out.”

Shanahan said the team will “play it by ear” whether to place Garoppolo on injured reserve.

The second round of the playoffs is seven weeks away. The NFC and AFC championship games are eight weeks away, on Jan. 29. And the Super Bowl is 10 weeks away.

Garoppolo, 31, whose contract with the 49ers is set to expire at the end of the season, sustained the injury when his left foot got pinned underneath Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips on a first-quarter sack. 

The 49ers have turned the fate of their season over to rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who will be relied upon to secure a playoff berth.

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He completed 25 of 37 pass attempts for 210 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the team’s 33-17 victory over the Dolphins.

The 49ers are an NFC West-leading 8-4, and on a five-game winning streak, heading into their game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.

Purdy, 22, opened the season as the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback behind Trey Lance and Garoppolo. He was inactive for the first two games of the season before Lance sustained a season-ending injury.

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