49ers general manager John Lynch provided an update on Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback looks to return from his second high-ankle sprain of the year before the season ends.
"He has made tremendous progress," Lynch said Thursday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" show (H/T 49ers Web Zone). "He is making great progress, and he continues to. It's just there will be a decision there, and I think, yes, this weekend will factor into that decision, and at least have some part of it."
San Francisco has plenty of reason to proceed with caution regarding Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle, who have both missed considerable time this season. However Lynch is optimistic that both can return by the end of the season.
"There's a lot of different factors," Lynch said. "First and foremost, they have to be cleared. I think we'll get to a place with both those guys where they will be cleared, and there will be a decision to make."
San Francisco isn't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but their odds are incredibly slim. Should the 49ers take home a win vs. the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday though, it would go a long way in a possible return for both Kittle and Garoppolo.
"Us taking care of business and mathematically staying in this thing would go a long way to us having interest in those guys playing," Lynch said. "You'd be a little more inclined to (play them), though, if we still have a chance to be in it because they're both terrific football players. They both mean a lot to our team."
Kittle is further ahead in his recovery process than Garoppolo is, and that was made evident by the 27-year-old tight end's return to practice earlier in the week. Still, San Francisco will proceed with caution as the two-time Pro Bowler recovers from a broken foot.
Garoppolo has not played in a NFL game since Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks, when he sustained his injury. Prior to that contest, he had thrown for 1,096 yards with a 67.1 percent completion rate. The 49ers will monitor Garoppolo closely, especially given the fact that another injury could cement a scenario both parties want to avoid completely.
"Jimmy, the problem is the alternative, or the consequence if it goes bad -- he might have to have some surgery," Lynch said. "We just don't want to go there if we don't have to."
After a season decimated by injury all around, it might prove difficult to be optimistic about much. Still, hope remains that Jimmy G can return to the helm for San Francisco soon.