LA Rams may not face Garoppolo with thumb injury in Week 18

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams have not beaten the San Francisco 49ers over the past five contests. One of the reasons for that recent burst of futility lies in the uncanny performance of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. While he has not exactly turned heads over the course of his NFL career, he does seem to save his best games for the Rams.

And lo and behold, here come the LA Rams once more.

So far in the 2021 NFL season, Garoppolo has played 14 games for a record of 8-6. He’s completed 278 passes of 409 attempts for 3,494 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. If you remove the 2019 13-3 season, there is not much more to discuss over him. He’s been 17-11 in his other four seasons with the 49ers, and he has struggled to stay healthy.

Trey Lance in, Jimmy Garoppolo on the way out

His performance is such that the 49ers have already drafted his replacement while he entered the last two years of his contract. He is due to make $27 million in 2022. But with rookie quarterback Trey Lance nipping at his heels, many expect the 49ers to cut Garoppolo, saving $25.6 million from their salary cap, and turning the football over to Lance.

Right now, Garoppolo is trying to face the LA Rams with a badly injured throwing hand. In fact, if not for the necessity of the 49ers to put Garoppolo under center to face the Rams, he would have gone on injured reserve already. But the 49ers want to beat the Rams, and so they will do anything and everything to accomplish that task.

It makes sense for the 49ers to want Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. He has an unexplained way of playing his very best against the LA Rams. Of course, the 49ers are just as likely to be playing possum over Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury. That’s the type of deceptive practice that runs rampant whenever the 49ers prepare to play the LA Rams.

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Are the 49ers playing possum?

Still, this is the San Francisco 49ers. In the past, they have brought plenty of guys to the active roster off injured reserve to face the Rams. And just as mysteriously, they’ve returned to IR. So it’s always difficult to trust anything said about a 49ers’ player in terms of injury when they play the Rams.

As proof, here is another take on Garoppolo’s thumb.

In the end, you can bet that Garoppolo will play if at all possible. But if he has an injured thumb, it would make a lot of sense for the LA Rams to be aware of it and try to get strip-sacks whenever possible.

While nobody can question Garoppolo’s toughness, you have plenty of room to question his durability and his decision-making process. His thumb needs surgery, and that will happen as soon as the season ends. So, right now, he is likely facing free agency and coming off thumb surgery to his throwing hand.

I get it. The LA Rams could end the 49ers season in the last game of the season. So of course any player would want to play. But Garoppolo may not be a 49ers quarterback after this year and may face trying to earn his way on a new team’s roster. If he can play, he will. But for the bigger picture, and his own career, I wish someone would be a bit more responsible about that decision.

Garoppolo shouldn’t play. But he may.

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