SEATTLE -- Trent Baalke today said it's too soon to say whether quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose season ended Sunday when he was placed on injured reserve, has played his final snap for the 49ers.
"I wouldn't say that at all," the 49ers general manager said before Sunday's game against the Seahawks. "I think people are reading into that. For me, where we stand right now, I wouldn’t read too much into that right now.”
Kaepernick on Monday had an MRI that showed a tear in his left labrum. He sought a second opinion from a Colorado specialist and he will travel there this week to see if surgery is necessary.
Baalke said that Kaepernick would rehabilitate with the team. "It will be the same as all our other guys that are on I.R.," he said.
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Both sides appear to have incentive for a speedy recovery.
Kaepernick wants to be in the best shape possible when the season is over. The 49ers must decide by April 1 to hold onto Kaepernick and pay him the $11.9 million he is due, or, more likely, part ways with him in a trade or an outright release. Teams will be more eager to grab Kaepernick if he is healthy or close to 100 percent.
Kaepernick also would get the $11.9 million if he is is still injured on April 1. The 49ers then would want to make sure he is getting the best possible treatment and rehabilitation work beforehand. His prognosis for recovery should he have surgery is four to six months.
Kaepernick initially hurt the shoulder in a Week 4 loss to the Packers. He was checked out by team doctors immediately afterward but, according to Baalke, it was "full steam ahead" from that point.
“It wasn’t something that at that point in time, was reportable,” he said. “He went in. He got it checked. He felt good and kept on playing. There wasn’t extensive rehab going on at that point in time. But those are injuries that continue to nag and they get worse. It came to point where he just felt, and the medical staff felt, it was in his best interest to step back.”
After the team's recent bye, Kaepernick told the team that the pain never went away, which is what prompted the Monday MRI.
Asked if the 49ers are looking at free-agent quarterbacks to bolster the group that now includes only Blaine Gabbert and rookie Dylan Thompson, Baalke said he is always looking for help although no visits have been set up for next week. He confirmed the team worked out one-time quarterback Terrelle Pryor last month but that he tried out as a wide receiver.
Baalke also disputed a report by NFL.com that Kaepernick had three suitors before the trade deadline passed earlier this month.
"No one contacted us relative to trading Colin," he said.