SANTA CLARA -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Monday he expects to undergo surgery this week to repair a torn ligament in his throwing hand.
Kaepernick is scheduled to travel to the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, on Tuesday for an examination and possible surgery that could require approximately three months of recovery time.
The fifth-year player says he injured the thumb during the Oct. 22 home game against Seattle. He was listed on the team’s Week 8 injury report as a full participant in practice with an unspecified “right hand” injury. He was listed as probable for the next game against St. Louis.
He did not appear on the injury report any week following the initial disclosure. But continued discomfort led the team to re-examine his hand, he said.
“I just had an MRI this past week. That’s when we found out the thumb was a problem,” Kaepernick said. “I didn’t have any knowledge up until then. I went with what I was told up until that point and found out this week.
“I’m going to get a second opinion in Vail this week and get confirmation on whether I’ll need surgery or not.”
General manager Trent Baalke could not explain the nearly ten-week span between when Kaepernick's hand injury occurred and this week's diagnosis.
“I can’t answer that," Baalke said on Monday. "There’s a process that these players go through. That would be a better question for our medical staff.
"I’ve got extreme confidence in our medical staff. I think it’s as good as there is. They’ll continue to work with him. He has several things that he’s working through. We’ll get a better grasp of how the rehabs are going and the different things and get him ready for the offseason program. That’s the goal.”
Kaepernick first traveled to the Steadman Clinic in November to undergo surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum. The 49ers put him on season-ending injured reserve on Saturday, Nov. 21.
CSNBayArea.com reported Kaepernick first told the team he was experiencing pain in his shoulder following the Oct. 4 game against Green Bay.
Kaepernick started the next four games though he never appeared on the injury report with any shoulder issue. Upon returning from the bye week, he told the medical staff he was experiencing strong pain. An MRI revealed a tear in Kaepernick’s left labrum.
He sought a second opinion from Dr. Peter Millett at the Steadman Clinic. A source termed the diagnosis as a “severely torn labrum.” Dr. Millett performed the surgery on Nov. 24.
Kaepernick revealed that while in Vail for his shoulder surgery, he also underwent a procedure to treat a bone bruise in his left knee. Kaepernick says that injury occurred during the Nov. 1 game in St. Louis. The bone bruise also did not appear on the 49ers’ weekly injury reports.
The injury is concerning, Kaepernick says, because it is in the same leg in which he had a titanium rod inserted before the start of his rookie year to help heal a fracture in his lower left leg. Kaepernick revealed the nature of his 2011 surgery for the first time on Monday.
Along with the right thumb, Kaepernick says Dr. Millett will check on his left shoulder during his next visit to Vail. His knee will be re-examined in February. Kaepernick said he is not sure when he will receive full medical clearance to resume football activities.
“They haven’t really given me a particular timeframe,” Kaepernick said. “(At) this point, (I’m) taking it one day at a time trying to do everything I can to be healthy as soon as possible.”
Kaepernick’s current contract with the 49ers is only guaranteed for injury. After April 1, his full salary of $11.9 million for 2016 becomes fully guaranteed.
The 49ers benched Kaepernick after the loss in St. Louis and named Blaine Gabbert the starter for the Nov. 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
When asked what Kaepernick’s future with the 49ers is, CEO Jed York said, “I love Colin," but the decision on whether he will remain with the team is not his.
“I’m not going to make any decisions on players,” York said. “A new head coach is going to come in here, and he’s going to evaluate the roster. Right now, I want to make sure Colin gets back healthy.”
“The roster will be left up to the head coach and the general manager.”
When asked if he wants to return to the 49ers, Kaepernick said, “I’m under contract here. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m prepared for next season.
“At this point all I’m focusing on is my rehab and making sure I’m healthy.”