Injuries Explained: Volume 3: Jimmy Garoppolo

December 8, 2022

The San Francisco ‘49ers defeated the MiamiDolphins 33-17 this past Sunday, but at what cost? A line-up who lost the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 draft, QB Trey Lance, in the first game of the season were struck by another devastating loss when backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo went down.  


Recovery time?

Initial reports that surfaced stated Jimmy G. needed season ending surgery.  However,in the days since following further testing, sources have said Garoppolo no longer needs surgery and could potentially return to the Super Wildcard weekendJanuary 14th.


Surgery vs. No Surgery

When considering a broken bone, there are many routes of healing. For a “non-displaced” fracture, the patient is immobilized in a hard or soft cast and non-weight bearing (for the lower extremity).


Surgical intervention may be required for a fracture that is “displaced”, meaning the bones have come out of alignment or when bones have shattered and required plates and screws in order to promote healing.


How long do fractures take to heal?

A non-displaced fracture can take ~6-8 weeks to heal under normal circumstances where weight bearing precautions are followed,and a patient has no comorbid factors that affect bone health.  More complex fractures thus take a longer time to heal (~10-12 weeks) and a longer rehabilitation process is typically required.


What will Jimmy G’s recovery process be like?

Following immobilization, the first step in the rehabilitation process is restoring full range of motion.  After that comes strength, and finally return to sport training.


An integral part of ankle/foot rehabilitation is proprioceptive training.  Proprioception,which is a large player in balance, is our body’s ability to know where it is in space (i.e. if you closed your eyes, knowing your foot is on the ground under you).  This sense is often diminished following any foot/ankle injury. Proprioceptive training often looks like various stability exercises completed on stable and unstable surfaces with the eyes open and closed.


Why is proprioception important for a quarterback?

As mentioned, proprioception is a portion of remaining balanced.  A quarterback often times has to make quick directional changes and remain elusive in and out of the pocket which can only be done with adequate mobility, strength and proprioception working together as one.