SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers will be without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and All-Pro tight end George Kittle for an extended period of time after they got hurt against Seattle.
A person familiar with the injuries said Monday on condition of anonymity that Garoppolo’s ankle injury and Kittle’s foot injury will sideline them indefinitely. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t announced their status.
ESPN first reported the severity of the injuries, saying Garoppolo will miss at least six weeks with a high ankle sprain and Kittle will be out eight weeks with a broken bone in his foot.
Garoppolo and Kittle are the latest in a long line of injuries this season that have derailed the defending NFC champions. San Francisco already has been forced to play without defensive ends Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas; top cornerback Richard Sherman, No. 1 receiver Deebo Samuel; and running backs Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jeff Wilson Jr. for extended periods of time this season.
The Niners have managed to go 4-4 despite those absences, but now will have to play at least the bulk of the rest of the season without their starting quarterback and top offensive player.
Garoppolo originally sprained his ankle in a Week 2 win at the New York Jets and missed the next two games. He struggled in his first game back against Miami before playing better in wins over the Rams and New England. Garoppolo re-injured the ankle in Sunday’s 37-27 loss at Seattle and was pulled in the second half.
He is completing 67.1% of his passes this season, while averaging 7.8 yards per attempt, with seven TDs, five interceptions for a 92.4 rating. All of those numbers are down from 2019 when he helped San Francisco win 13 games in the regular season and make it to the Super Bowl.
This is the third significant injury of Garoppolo’s career. He hurt his shoulder in New England in 2016 and had a season-ending injury for San Francisco in 2018.
Nick Mullens will replace Garoppolo as starter beginning Thursday night against Green Bay. Mullens played well in one start this season before getting pulled in the fourth quarter of a 25-20 loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 4. Mullens threw for 238 yards and two TDs in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Kittle hurt his knee in Week 1 and missed the next two games before returning with a 15-catch, 183-yard performance against the Eagles. He had 37 catches for 474 yards and two TDs in six games this season for San Francisco.
The Niners are hoping to get Jordan Reed back from a knee injury to take Kittle’s place against Green Bay.
San Francisco also traded linebacker Kwon Alexander to New Orleans on Monday in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso and a conditional fifth-round draft choice.
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