San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had surgery earlier this month on his torn ACL, and has returned to regular interactions with the team. Garoppolo is on crutches at this stage, but took some time to chat with the media after practice on Friday. Tracy Sandler got video, which you can watch above, or click here. I’ve transcribed the interview, which you can read below.
He is still very early in the rehab process, but he said he is expected to get out of his crutches in the next couple weeks. Running back Jerick McKinnon got off crutches earlier this week, so the timetables line up given the timing of their respective ACL tears. While nobody would wish an ACL tear on a teammate, there is at least one positive in that the two can be rehab buddies, albeit on slightly different schedules.
Garoppolo said the surgery was straight-forward, and that while he did have a couple things cleaned up with the ACL, there were no other tears. He will move on to swimming pool work, which is the next step after surgery and crutches.
In the meantime, he is able to observe the game sometimes from his TV at home, and most recently from the press box this past Sunday against the Rams. I doubt we see Garoppolo making road trips this season, but he remains around the facility to help as needed. He is able to offer advice, although he doesn’t want to over-reach given that he’s not out there every day in practice. That being said, there is value to be gained from having him around the building — and he can continue taking mental reps and working through team meetings to stay sharp with the offense.
Here’s the full rundown of what Garoppolo had to say.
What rehab has been like:
”It’s been different, obviously. A different schedule and everything. Just trying to get this knee back to normal, get the swelling down, get the movement going.”
On regrets from the play:
”I mean, initially you think about that stuff. You think of every situation possible, plays before it, all that stuff. Eventually you have to start moving on.”
Any other damage discovered:
”There were a couple little things, nothing too serious. The ACL was the only one that got torn, so that was a good sign. They fixed up a couple little things, and I think it’s been going really good. The stitches are out, the scar healed up quickly. So, we can move on to the pool stuff, really move forward now.”
“We’ve only talked about the crutches so far. So that’s, I’ve got like two more weeks-ish, something like that, then I can start walking again. Looking forward to that. As far as throwing and stuff, it’s kind of feel thing, they keep telling me. So it’s kind of how you progress through the process.”
Most challenging part of this:
“The crutches. [Laugh] They suck. I think just the overall acceptance of it. Initially, it was tough. I’ve never had a serious injury like this, so it’s different. But we’re very positive now. I’ve got Jet [McKinnon] going through It with me, and so we’re kinda helping one other, and it’s good.”
On having someone to go through it with:
“You know, I never wish it on anybody, but it’s nice having Jet there with me. We do very similar exercises — he’s a little ahead of me right now, so I’m trying to play a little catch-up with him. But, it’s nice to have someone there with you the whole time.”
On contributions he’s able to make off the field:
“Just try to go to as many meetings as I can, obviously our schedules are a little different, with rehab and stuff like that. Any input I can put in to help the guys. If they have any questions at all, I try to help them as much as I can. Just be a positive reinforcement in the locker room.”
On watching game-day now with the injury:
”It’s strange, it’s strange. The first couple I was down in LA, just watching them on the couch. And then this last one [vs. Rams] I got to go sit in the box and watch it. It’s a completely different perspective. You feel like a coach almost. And so there’s little things like that I’ve tried to find a silver lining, how I can take advantage of this extra time. I’ll never be given time like this again. So, it’s just, you have to take advantage of what you’re given.”
On looking forward to testing his resolve in coming back:
“Yea, I think it’ll be a good test. It’s a long process, so you can’t look too far ahead and start thinking about things that don’t matter right now. And so, I think just staying locked in, every day trying to get better. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s a long process, and if we keep getting better every day, we’ll be OK.”
On potentially changing style moving forward:
“I’ve always been pretty cautious, and so that kind of a freak accident of a play. I don’t know if it was just instinct or what to cut back like that, but it is what it is. Your style of play, maybe it will alter it initially, but eventually, everyone keeps telling me you’ll get back to how your legs were before — just as strong, if not stronger. It’s all about putting in the work right now and coming back stronger than I was before. Mentally being better, and just overall being better.”
On if he’s injury prone after shoulder and ACL injuries:
“If people say I’m injury-prone, then they don’t really know what they’re talking about. I’ve played sports my whole life — I’ve had only two injuries. It’s weird. I’m not used to it, that’s for sure. But it’s something I don’t want to get used to. I want to get out there with the guys, battling, preparing throughout the week and everything. And we’ll get back there next year.”
On ways to contribute in conversations with C.J. Beathard:
“I try to. You’ve gotta pick your spots kind of, because it is different. You’re not out on the field, putting in the time these guys are and everything. So, whenever he has a question, or I see something that sticks out that I can help him with, I’ll try and do whatever I can.”
On differences between 3 starts this year and 5 last year:
“Well I mean, we had a completely different team, and every year’s going to be different. Kind of how you go throughout the year, it’s an up and down battle. There’s gonna be good games, there’s gonna be bad games. It’s disappointing I didn’t get to see this year all the way through, but like I said before, just coming back stronger next year’s the main thing now.
On being able to make progress with offense while injured:
“Kind of, I’m trying to approach it as a coach almost. You can do all the mental stuff the same as you did before, if not more because you have more time now. And then during the game, you’re not out there. You’re seeing the game from the press box or on TV or whatever it is. It’s a different perspective, and I’ll try and use it to my advantage.”
Anything jumps out from bird’s eye view:
“I mean I’ve never watched the defense, because you’re always on the sideline preparing for the next one. So watching the, it was different. I’m still new to it, so I’m still learning as I go.”