SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been cleared for everything when training camp begins for the San Francisco 49ers.
Garoppolo passed his final test Friday in his return from season-ending knee surgery when he took his physical. Garoppolo was limited to seven-on-seven drills during the offseason to avoid any possible contact to protect his left knee but he will be able to take part in full team drills when practice starts Saturday.
“I’m really happy where I’m at,” Garoppolo said. “It was a very successful summer, got a lot done, a lot of different things to work on. It’s really coming together now. Now it’s time to roll.”
The only limitation for Garoppolo right now is that he will be held out of at least the preseason opener with coach Kyle Shanahan saying he will decide later this summer whether to play Garoppolo at all in the exhibition season.
A healthy Garoppolo is one of the keys to a rebound this season for the 49ers, who have won just 10 games in the first two seasons under Shanahan. Garoppolo showed plenty of promise after arriving in San Francisco in a trade with the Patriots midway through the 2017 season. He stepped in after a few weeks and won all five starts, earning a five-year, $137.5 million contract to stay off the free-agent market.
Garoppolo completed less than 60 percent of his passes in his three starts last season and saw his yards per attempt drop, while his sack and interception rates went up.
“I was looking forward to (last) year knowing that Jimmy hadn’t played a lot of ball but had showed everyone the capability to be a very, very good quarterback,” Shanahan said. “I was really looking forward to having a full year with him where we all knew he’d have some ups and downs but he had the ability and the mentality to succeed. He missed that year. Now he’s done the work to be healthy and we’re back to this. Jimmy hasn’t played a lot of football. Everyone knows he’s a good football player and talented but we have to go through situations and go through playing the position.”
The Niners had about 20 players missing with injuries during a large part of the offseason program but almost all of them are ready for training camp, including No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa, who hurt his hamstring in his first pass rush drill as a pro, and free-agent linebacker Kwon Alexander, who had knee surgery last November.
There will be four players who begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list with running back Jerick McKinnon, safety Jimmie Ward, center Weston Richburg and tight end Garrett Celek all still nursing injuries.
McKinnon had a flare up last week from the torn ACL in his right knee that sidelined him all last season and will start training camp on the sideline. He is expected to be cleared fairly quickly and will work his way back into a deep rotation that also includes free-agent acquisition Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida.
Ward broke his collarbone during the offseason program and is expected to miss the first few weeks of training camp, with general manager John Lynch hopeful he will be able to return for joint practices in Denver on Aug. 16-17.
Richburg had knee and quadriceps surgery in the offseason after playing through those injuries in 2018. Richburg is expected to miss almost of training camp but the 49ers are hoping he will be healthy enough for the season opener Sept. 8 in Tampa Bay.
Celek is the only one of those players not expected to be back for the start of the season. He is recovering from back surgery and will start the regular season on the PUP list, requiring him to miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season.