Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan 'expects' Jimmy Garoppolo to be 49ers starter in 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains out indefinitely with the second high right-ankle sprain he suffered this season, the latest occurring during a 37-27 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 1. 

It's unknown if the 49ers, currently 4-6 in the standings during their bye week, will attempt to bring the 29-year-old back this year, but analysts such as ESPN's Bill Barnwell have explained by Garoppolo may have taken his last snap as a member of the organization: 

Coach Kyle Shanahan feels differently about the matter. 

"I expect Jimmy to be our starter next year," Shanahan explained when speaking with reporters on Tuesday, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.

"I expect him to come and play with us this year. We have six games left, we are not out of the playoffs yet. I have been on a team that was 3-6 going into a bye week that ended up winning their division. I think we have guys on this team that are capable of finishing this the right way. We've got to do it one game at a time, and I hope Jimmy can be a part of that.

"But to think that we've made any decisions on anybody going into the future isn't the case. Jimmy has won a lot of games for us. It's a lot harder to win games when he's not here. Just hoping we can get him back." 

Shanahan continued: 

"I'm really holding out hope that Jimmy can get back and play some games with us. I'm hoping that we can change a little bit of our outcomes so when he does come back and hopefully a few other people, they're coming back for a reason."

Garoppolo helped the Niners complete a journey to Super Bowl LIV, where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, but he's mostly performed under the value of the five-year, $137.5 million contract that he signed in February 2018 outside of that run. 

However, San Francisco exists in a quarterback purgatory and outside the hunt to "earn" the right to draft Clemson star Trevor Lawrence next spring, which could be why Shanahan wants to see Garoppolo back on the field before the new year. 

Garoppolo does not require surgery to fix the injury and could be cleared to play at the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 20.

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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