QB history with ankle sprains bodes well for Jimmy G, 49ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo limped back to the sideline in the first quarter of Sunday's win over the New York Jets, fans held their breath. Although the QB toughed out the remainder of the first half, Garoppolo did not return for the second half of the 49ers’ 31-13 win at MetLife Stadium. Following the game, coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that Garoppolo suffered a high-ankle sprain.
Among the numerous injuries 49ers players sustained on the controversial turf at MetLife Stadium, potentially losing their starting QB for any period of time could end up being the most impactful. Luckily for Garoppolo and the 49ers, there have been a handful of quarterbacks who went down with similar injuries and managed to avoid missing any time.
ESPN's Bill Barnwell noted that both Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger played through ankle sprains in recent years, albeit with varying results. Manning hurt his ankle in November of 2013, but still managed to finish his age-37 season with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes, winning NFL MVP in the process. But Roethlisberger in 2011 tossed three interceptions in a 20-3 loss -- to the 49ers of all teams -- while battling an ankle sprain, and the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller struggled over the final few games of that season.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford sprained his ankle late in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, and was forced to leave in a walking boot. Stafford came out the next week and completed 70 percent of his passes, tossing three touchdowns with no interceptions while even busting off a 21-yard run in a Lions win.
Tom Brady went down with a sprained ankle in 2016 during the New England Patriots’ final game of the regular season. Although he got an extra week to recover before the divisional round, he completed just 18-of-38 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. But, the Patriots won that week and went on to win the Super Bowl.
We’ll find out Monday just how severe the sprain is for Garoppolo, but there’s no doubt that a high-ankle issue is much more painful than a standard sprain (as this writer can confirm).
But even though Garoppolo suffered the injury just a few minutes into Sunday’s game, he still managed to complete 14 of his 16 passes for 131 yards and two touchdown strikes to tight end Jordan Reed. Given the 49ers’ commanding lead going into the half, there wasn’t much reason to throw Garoppolo out there for the final 30 minutes.
In Week 3, the 49ers are scheduled to face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, where the newly-installed turf drew the ire of 49ers players due to the litany of injuries in the game against the Jets.
As the Giants are without their top offensive player in Saquon Barkley after he tore his ACL, it might be a good week for the 49ers to rest some of their beaten-up starters, as they’ll likely enter as significant favorites once again.
Nick Mullens managed to hold down the fort in Week 2, and is one of the NFL’s more capable backups. But if Garoppolo decides to try and tough it out, it’ll be difficult to predict how successful he will be.