It has been almost two calendar years since Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season. And still, the 49ers quarterback took the field Sunday at Levi's Stadium sporting a brace on his left knee.
Some thought Garoppolo might ditch the brace this season, but he plans to wear it every game this year and doesn't see it affecting his play one bit.
"It's really no decision to be made," Garoppolo told reporters Wednesday. "I'm going to wear it every game. I already knew that going into the season. The mobility it really doesn't change. They do a great job with these knee braces, the training staff. I think it's made of titanium. It's real lightweight.
"So it really doesn't affect anything, it's just more of a safety blanket for me."
Brace or no brace, Garoppolo's 2020 campaign didn't get off to a great start in Week 1.
While he went 19-for-33 for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Garoppolo also missed on several easy throws. Of those 259 yards, 76 of them came on a touchdown pass to Raheem Mostert that saw the running back rack up 71 yards after the catch. Garoppolo also was just 8-for-17 for 89 yards in the second half and he missed Kendrick Bourne on an out-and-up that would have been the game-winning touchdown.
With the 49ers facing mounting injury issues, Garoppolo will need to be crisp in the coming weeks if the 49ers plan to weather the early storm and stay in the thick of what is expected to be a crowded NFC West race.
There's good news for Garoppolo and the 49ers, though. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) is expected to play Sunday against the New York Jets, and the 49ers think that tight end George Kittle (knee) also could suit up.
Oh, the 49ers also will face the Jets and New York Giants over the next two weeks, which should, in theory, be the perfect spot for the 49ers to get a little healthier and for Garoppolo and his "safety blanket" to pick up two wins.