49ers

NFL rumors: 49ers expect Jimmy Garoppolo to be ready for start of OTAs

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NFL rumors: 49ers expect Jimmy Garoppolo to be ready for start of OTAs

The 49ers' 2018 season went south when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a torn ACL in Week 3. Just over four months have passed since that fateful day and, fully intent on a bounceback 2019 campaign, San Francisco is increasingly optimistic that Garoppolo will be ready for the start of it.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that John Lynch and the 49ers expect Garoppolo to be on the field at the start of organized team activities (OTAs) in the spring.

"Obviously, a huge lift for his team, having their star quarterback out there for all the spring drills," Rapaport said. "Just allows [Garoppolo] to kind of ease into the offseason to make sure he's ready for the start of training camp."

After winning his first five games with San Francisco, the 49ers went 1-2 in Garoppolo's three starts this past season. As such, he's had a grand total of eight (regular season) games played and one offseason with the red and gold, so it's not as if he's had a ton of time to develop chemistry with his offensive weapons. The sooner he can get back on the field this offseason, the better for him and those weapons.

[RELATED: Kittle to spend time with six-time All-Pro TE Gonzalez]

And speaking of the talents Garopppolo hopes to have at his disposal in 2019, he's not the only one recovering from a torn ACL. Running  back Jerick McKinnon -- who was arguably San Francisco's biggest free agent signing -- tore his right ACL on the final practice of training camp, causing him to miss the entire season.

Garoppolo and McKinnon have been keeping each other company while they rehab, according to Rapoport. "They're competing against each other, as far as who is more ready."

Whether or not they trot out on the field when the 49ers convene for OTAs remains to be seen, but the very fact that it's even being mentioned as a possibility is a good sign for their respective recoveries.

Kentavius Street, Jason Verrett only 49ers options to return from IR

Kentavius Street, Jason Verrett only 49ers options to return from IR

SANTA CLARA -- The list of 49ers on injured reserve who remain as possibilities to return to play later this season seemingly has been reduced to the maximum number of two.

Coach Kyle Shanahan essentially has ruled out the possibilities of wide receivers Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd from playing this season.

That leaves defensive lineman Kentavius Street and cornerback Jason Verrett as the only players who have chances of being activated off injured reserve before the end of the season.

“Those are guys that are working hard to get back and if we definitely had an injury at a certain spot, we’d probably make that decision sooner than later,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan said the 49ers intend to get both players on the practice field to give them chances to earn their way back onto the team’s 53-man roster.

Each NFL team is allowed to bring two players off injured reserve to return to action in the same season. Once a player begins practice, the club has a maximum of three weeks to activate the player to the 53-man roster, keep the player on injured reserve for the entirety of the season or release the player.

Taylor sustained a Jones fracture in his right foot in the second week of training camp and underwent surgery before the team’s first preseason game. He experienced complications from the surgery that have prevented him from being available at any point this season.

Hurd, a third-round draft pick from Baylor, had an impressive preseason debut against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 10 with two touchdown receptions but he has not appeared in a game since due to a stress reaction in his back. Shanahan suggested on Monday that Hurd will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of his rookie season.

“I don’t know if we’ve 100-percent ended that, but it has not been looking good, so that’s kind of out of sight, out of mind for me right now,” Shanahan said. “We might have more of an answer on that later in this week to just finalize that.”

When asked if that meant that Hurd would remain on injured reserve, Shanahan answered, “Yes, ultimately, that he won’t return. But, yeah, I know it’s been week-to-week here. We’ve been thinking about it, and I’m not thinking about it right now.”

Street and Verrett are eligible to begin practice, but the 49ers might wait until Week 14, Shanahan said.

Street sat out his entire rookie season after sustaining a torn ACL in a pre-draft workout. He underwent a follow-up arthroscopic knee surgery in late-August that landed him on injured reserve. The 49ers selected Street in the fourth round of the 2018 draft out of North Carolina State.

The 49ers placed Verrett, 28, on injured reserve on Oct. 3 with a knee condition after he appeared in one game this season. The 49ers signed Verrett to a one-year contract in the offseason.

[RELATED: Shanahan says Ford could miss next couple of 49ers games]

Shanahan said Street and Verrett remain as options to return to the active roster this season if the 49ers need another defensive lineman or cornerback due to injuries later in the season.

“They’re getting healthy,” Shanahan said. “I think both of them are going to have an opportunity to do that. It’s not something we’d do right now, but definitely could be an option if we have any injuries at either of those positions.”

Jerry Rice predicts 49ers go undefeated vs. Packers, Ravens, Saints

Jerry Rice predicts 49ers go undefeated vs. Packers, Ravens, Saints

For the second straight week, the end of a 49ers game came down to the wire. On Sunday, however, San Francisco bounced back with a wild 36-26 win over the Cardinals after a heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks the week before. 

The back half of the 49ers' schedule continues to get tougher, too, starting with a clash against the Packers this Sunday. It doesn't get any easier after that. 

The 49ers are ramping up for an incredibly tough three-game stretch against the Packers (8-2), Ravens (8-2) and Saints (8-2), with the final two being on the road. Jerry Rice isn't worried, though. 

"They gonna win them all," Rice predicted Monday on 95.7 The Game

Rice has continued to claim the 49ers will win the Super Bowl throughout this season. Even after showing cracks in their armor against the Seahawks and Cardinals, he isn't wavering. 

The greatest to ever catch a football believes in this year's 49ers. 

"The Niners are going to do it, man," Rice continued. "I'm serious. They're going to find a way. Yeah, they've got a big task coming up with the Packers, but this team is going to rise to the occasion, and they're going to get the job done."

[RELATED: Where 49ers stand in hopes of earning top seed in NFC]

Rice says the key to beating the Packers will be a fast start from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of the 49ers. While Jimmy G joined Joe Montana and Steve Young in record books against Arizona with over 400 yards passing and four touchdowns, he threw two more interceptions. 

If Garoppolo and the rest of the 49ers get sloppy in a heated battle with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, it could be a long night at Levi's Stadium to start this three-game stretch against serious contenders. Rice, for one, doesn't seem too concerned about that.