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Jimmy Garoppolo explains why he’s confident he’ll start Sunday against the Texans

He also said “we’ll do the right thing for the team.”

San Francisco 49ers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

I find everything about the 49ers quarterback situation fascinating. Jimmy Garoppolo, being the competitor he is, wants to play Sunday. And why wouldn’t he? The Niners have a chance to clinch a playoff berth in Week 17.

Even though he didn’t participate during Wednesday’s practice, Jimmy is confident he’ll suit up against Houston Sunday. Here’s his transcript from Garopoplo’s media availability Wednesday, where he explained why he’s confident he’ll play, as well as much more about his thumb injury.

How do you feel, and do you think knowing your own hand and body the way you do, do you think there’s a chance that you’d be able to play on Sunday?

“Yeah, definitely. I think just, I mean I played the entire game with it basically, so it’s really just about being able to grip the ball, do the things I normally do. We’re going to go test this out today, see how it feels and go from there. But yeah, I feel confident in it.”

Why do you feel confident in it, and how did it just feel in the days after the game, once the adrenaline wore off?

“Christmas made it feel a little better, I’ll say. I mean, it’s a torn ligament, though, so it is what it is. Kind of the pain, it’s not going anywhere, so I know what that feels like. But it’s just about being confident, going out there and being able to do what I normally do with the football. So we’ll see where it gets us, but I feel good right now with it.”

How difficult was it to play with that in the second half?

“I mean, pretty difficult. If you can imagine not being able to use your thumb very much, just the feel of the ball that you normally feel. Can’t really grip it the same way and throw it the same way. But I felt like as the game went on, I kind of slowly started to adjust to it and my throwing style actually changed a little bit just to compensate for it.”

Head coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday had mentioned specifically the third quarter throw. Was that type of throw particularly difficult with the thumb and then why didn’t you mention it after the game? You didn’t have the greatest game, but you did have a thumb injury. Why not sort of use that to kind of explain what may have gone on?

“Well, I mean, for multiple reasons, just that’s just not me. Even when it happened on the sideline, I tried to be low-key about it and just tell the trainers. But I knew there was cameras and everything. I wasn’t trying to put that out there. It’s not about me. It’s about the team, honestly. And that’s kind of my mindset. And as cliche as that sounds, that’s how I kind of play. And so it was one of those things, just the one, the beginning of the second half couldn’t really pull it down and save that throw like I usually do, so it sailed a little bit. But all those things, I think as a quarterback, you’re supposed to be out there. As a quarterback, it’s my team, and I’m supposed to be out there, and that’s kind of the mindset I’ve always had.”

Kyle mentioned the other day that it happened on the sack, the Tennessee Titans defensive end Denico Autry sack there toward the end of the second quarter. Can you walk us through, like, did your thumb get tangled? Did you land on it funny? What exactly happened?

“Yeah, he kind of, [Tennessee Titans OLB] Bud Dupree I’m pretty sure it was, was coming from behind me, kind of grabbed me from behind. If you can imagine, I was holding the ball, and he kind of hip-tossed me using my thumb. And so, and then we landed on my thumb on top of that. So it was kind of the perfect storm for a thumb injury, but that’s football. Stuff happens out there, and you’ve just got to move on and that’s what I tried to do out there.”

That was actually what I was going to ask. Kyle mentioned there’s a sense of urgency around the facility now, that it’s a playoff mentality. How do you feel about the energy in the locker room at this point?

“Good, good. Definitely better than it was after the game. I think guys got away for a couple of days, got to enjoy Christmas and its playoff atmosphere now. Now it’s for real. And you know, it has been for a while now, but now the chips are really on the table. So it’s an excited locker room, I’ll say. Guys are confident right now. I know everything happened last week, but guys are confident just in the team that we have, and we know what we can do.”

Have you actually tried to throw since the game, or will today be the first time you attempt it?

“No. Today will be the first day. We’ve been just trying to tack it down as much as possible, get some of that swelling out. Just trying to be cautious with it, but yeah, today we’ll get out there, go throw it around and see how it feels.”

Obviously, we’re back on zoom, and you guys have been doing meetings via zoom. Is there any like anxiety or flashbacks to last year, even though you know it’s not quite that bad? Has that come up at all for you guys?

“You definitely get the feeling, especially the first couple days of doing zoom again. I think just with COVID and everything. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do as far as protocols go. But I think just as a football team. We enjoy being around each other. We enjoy being in the locker room, talking to each other, messing around, all that good stuff, and it’s just hard to do it on zoom. That slight delay really makes things a little awkward.”

You may have seen that general manager John Lynch mistakenly liked a tweet saying that the 49ers should leave you in Nashville. What was your reaction when you saw that the first time and did he call you to clear things up?

“Yeah. John did. John’s first class. Always has been, always will be. I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose, but whatever social media mistake, stuff happens. I trust John and John’s been nothing but good to me since I’ve been here, and I don’t see him changing anytime soon.”

Kyle described it as a grade-three sprain, which is a very serious sprain. How much are you going to be able to work with the training staff, the coaching staff, and figure out that if you aren’t up to the level where you can spin the ball the way you want, then maybe the better option would be QB Trey Lance to start this game? How are you going to approach that from the mindset of you wanting to play, but also having to put the team first?

“I think that I don’t know. It kind of comes natural to me. You know, I always put the team first. As much as you want to look out for yourself and do what’s right for you, team comes first. I’ve lived my whole life like that. So I don’t think that’ll change, but I think it’s just a matter of being on the same page with me, the coaches, the trainers. We’ll see how it looks today. If it looks good, it looks good. If it looks bad, it looks bad. It’s just kind of one of those things you’ve got to test it out and go through it. But until we do that, it’ll be hard to say. But yeah, we’ll all be on the same page, and we’ll do the right thing for the team.”