Injuries decimated the San Francisco 49ers in their Week 2 rout of the New York Jets, and the effects of their especially physical Sunday will linger in Week 3, when the Niners return to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants. After losing pass rushers Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the season, as well as running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for the immediate future, the 49ers will also likely be without their starting quarterback this Sunday. Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that backup Nick Mullens is on track to replace Garoppolo, who’s unlikely to take the practice field in the coming days.
“I’ll be surprised if Jimmy gets back later in the week,” Shanahan said. “I know he’s still pulling to do it, but yeah, Nick’s ready to go. And if something happens to Nick, C.J. (Beathard) will be ready to go. Nick’s got a lot of playing time with us. In 2018, (that) prepared him for moments like this. He always does a good job in practice, and I’m excited to see him get his opportunity.”
Shanahan said earlier this week that Garoppolo had a chance of suiting up against the Giants despite leaving Week 2 early with a high-ankle sprain. That kind of injury has often kept players sidelined for at least a few weeks, but it’s unclear how severe Garoppolo’s injury is. His absence at Wednesday’s practice — and perhaps the remainder of this week — could indicate more recovery time is needed, although it’s possible the 49ers are simply being extra cautious after such a devastating first run on the MetLife turf, which was blamed for so many injuries on Sunday that it spawned an NFL investigation.
The 25-year-old Mullens, who’s in his fourth season with the team, started eight games in place of an injured Garoppolo back in 2018. Initially the No. 3 behind Garoppolo and Beathard, he finished that year with 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 90.8 passer rating as San Francisco fell to 4-12 and third in the NFC West. Mullens has only appeared in two games since then, going 8 for 11 with an interception in relief of Garoppolo on Sunday.