The San Francisco 49ers placed Colin Kaepernick on injured reserve Saturday afternoon, catching a lot of us off-guard. He was listed as probable with a shoulder injury on Friday, but it escalated quickly to IR on Saturday, and then reports he has a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. There were reports of potential surgery this week, and now we have further confirmation. Numerous media, including Matt Barrows, Matt Maiocco, and Fox Sports NFL reporter Mike Garafolo are all reporting Kaepernick had a consultation on Monday, and will have shoulder surgery on Tuesday. Recovery time is estimated at 4-6 months.
After the initial word over the weekend about potential surgery, there were conflicting reports about who knew what when. Pro Football Talk had a report that downplayed much of the issue. Through his sources, Florio reported that Kaepernick reported minor shoulder soreness after the team's Sunday, October 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Florio said by Monday the shoulder had improved enough that no treatment was needed.
Florio's report then suggests Kaepernick returned earlier this week from the bye, and again complained about shoulder soreness. Florio reported the 49ers determined the source of the shoulder soreness, and "treatment commenced." On Friday, Kaepernick told the team the shoulder was still an issue, and options were discussed "between the team and Kaepernick's representatives, culminating in the decision to place Kaepernick on injured reserve."
Florio's report published Saturday following the IR transaction. Around the same time as Florio's article, Matt Barrows and Matt Maiocco reported a slightly different version of events. They also reported that Kaepernick suffered the injury against the Green Bay Packers. Barrows reported a 49ers spokesman said a team doctor examined Kaepernick, and the injury was "not believed to be significant but that it should be monitored." Barrows reported his source said team doctors told Kaepernick the injury would heal on its own.
They both report that Kaepernick continued to experience soreness, and on Monday, Kaepernick had an MRI conducted on the shoulder on Monday. Maiocco reports a team doctor said there was a minor tear of the labrum. Barrows does not state that, but both report that Kaepernick sought a second opinion with a specialist in Colorado. The MRI results were sent over, and that doctor told him the tear was significant.
Barrows reported Kaepernick offered to be in Seattle for the game before going for surgery in the coming week, but the team elected to place him on injured reserve this weekend.
Sunday afternoon, 49ers GM Trent Baalke was on hand at CenturyLink Field for the Seahawks game. He took a few minutes to discuss the Kaepernick situation. Baalke said this was not a he said/she said kind of situation. He said the 49ers doctors and the doctors Kaepernick consulted for a second opinion are in agreement that surgery is needed.
This all reads like the 49ers doctors came around once Kaepernick's second doctor forced the issue, which is a little odd. However, what's done is done, and Kaepernick is going to get his surgery. The timing will be interesting to follow given the April 1 salary guarantee in his contract. Kaepernick's 2016 base salary is guaranteed for injury right now, and becomes fully guaranteed (for skill and cap) on April 1, 2016. If Kaepernick can pass a physical between now and then, the 49ers can release or trade him, and that will be that. If not, that creates a whole new batch of issues.