Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is nearing the stage of his rehabilitation that will enable him to make his return to the 49ers’ sideline.
Garoppolo's season ended when he tore the ACL in his left knee during the 49ers’ Week 3 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Garoppolo underwent surgery on Oct. 3. He recently was allowed to jettison his crutches to walk without assistance.
Next up, Garoppolo will be allowed to travel with the team and watch games from the sideline, coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area.
“The Tuesday after the Monday night game is the first time he was off his crutches, so it’s been nice for him to come out to practice and things like that,” Shanahan said. “There’s one more week before the doctors allow him to travel. So he’ll be able to come on some road trips with us.”
Garoppolo was shown to a national television audience during the 49ers’ game against the New York Giants watching the game from a suite at Levi’s Stadium. Former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan asked on Twitter why Garoppolo was not with his teammates on the sideline.
Shanahan answered the question, stating that the 49ers’ medical staff was following its long-standing policy. Running back Jerick McKinnon, who also tore his ACL, was not been allowed on the team’s sideline until now.
“It’s not my rule. It’s the same rule that our doctors had when he was here,” Shanahan said of McCloughan's comments. “We have a policy here when guys are on crutches. They have a certain amount of time to return from injury. And when they’re on crutches we don’t allow them on the sideline. We don’t think they can protect themselves.
“That was a rule that was made before I was here. I think Scot would remember because he was here, too. It’s the same doctors, so I think he knows the answer to that. Fortunately, McKinnon just got cleared last week, and Jimmy will be cleared for our next home game.”
Garoppolo is attending all meetings and spends a lot of time with the team’s other quarterbacks: Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard and Tom Savage, who was waived Saturday but is likely to be re-signed.
When the 49ers return to Levi’s Stadium for their Dec. 9 game against the Denver Broncos, Garoppolo is expected to be on the sideline.
“Of course, Jimmy wants to be down there. It’s a lot more fun. He wants to be with his teammates, but that’s our team’s policy, and it’s a pretty smart one,” Shanahan said. “We’d love to have guys down there to watch and be close, so people don’t get upset with them. But I’d also rather them stay healthy and not get injured for no reason.”