Kittle, Deebo give report on Jimmy G's passing at practice

/ by Jennifer Lee Chan
Presented By Toyota

SANTA CLARA -- After his third day of throwing a football since injuring his thumb in Week 16, Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers teammates report he has not missed a beat.

The quarterback went about business as usual during warm-ups and individual drills Thursday, throwing passes to George Kittle and the training staff. Garoppolo was listed as limited on the practice report, but Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell reported that if they didn’t know about the veteran’s injured thumb, they wouldn’t have noticed a difference.

“Jimmy just looks like Jimmy to me,” Samuel said. “Same confidence, same throw, same ball, same energy, same everything. I don’t think he took a step backwards. It don’t look like to me that his thumb hurts, and he’s out there doing a good job this week."

Kittle was very vocal complimenting his quarterback while catching passes in individual drills when the media had access. Evidence of Garoppolo still able to get velocity on the ball was the very audible sound of it hitting Kittle’s gloves as he caught passes from the quarterback.

“I can’t really tell the difference,” Kittle said. “I think he looks better than he did last week. I think Jimmy is a tough guy, and I fully believe that if he is going to be able to play, that he will do everything he can to do it.”

Kittle, who has dealt with his own bevy of injuries through his career, remarked that he doesn't know what it’s like to throw with a chipped bone in his hand, but he does know what it feels like in other extremities. The All-Pro would not hint at who the starter might be Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, but he does believe Garoppolo will do everything in his power to play.


Mitchell -- who also has played through multiple injuries this season, including those to his ribs, finger and knee -- noted Garoppolo’s own toughness and the mindset that is carried by everyone in the 49ers locker room.

“Jimmy’s a freak,” Mitchell said. “He just has that mentality that he can play through anything, and that’s what you got to have. We’re football players and we have to play through injury. Jimmy has been looking real good. We just got to get him to Sunday and we will be all good.”

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49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel not only has paid close attention to Garoppolo’s throwing motion and ability but also how the quarterback has been able to handle the ball on snaps from center Alex Mack.

“That is something that we have to be mindful of that we have tried to overdo,” McDaniel said “That’s one of the biggest motivating factors in deciding on Sunday -- whether or not he can handle the ball.”

The 49ers staff is attempting to find the tipping point of getting Garoppolo enough reps to feel confident enough to play Sunday without causing a setback. For now, one thing is clear: Garoppolo has a chance to close out the regular-season finale as the 49ers' starting quarterback.

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