Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he will be in a sling for one more week and that he resumed going to team meetings last week. He is expected to be on the sideline for Sunday’s game against the Bengals, his first since surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder.
Doctors in Colorado repaired the injury, a tear in his labrum, Nov. 24. The recovery time for that injury is four to six months. Kaepernick, who is on injured reserve, began rehabilitating with the 49ers the week after surgery.
His contract calls for a $11.9 million guarantee on April 1, so the 49ers must figure out whether he is part of their future plans by then. General manager Trent Baalke met with Kaepernick recently and has told reporters that it’s premature to speculate the quarterback has played his final snap for the team.
“I wouldn’t say that at all,” Baalke said before a Nov. 22 game in Seattle. “I think people are reading into that. For me, where we stand right now, I wouldn’t read too much into that right now.”
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The 49ers replaced Kaepernick with Blaine Gabbert before their Nov. 8 game against Atlanta. Gabbert has gone 2-3 in his starts with six touchdowns, three interceptions and a 90.7 passer rating. He has been sacked 17 times.
Kaepernick was 2-6 in his starts with six touchdowns, five interceptions and a 78.5 passer rating. He was sacked 28 times.
Another injured player, left guard Alex Boone, also is unlikely to play again this season and, like Kaepernick, he may have played his final game for the 49ers.
Boone suffered a partial MCL tear in last Sunday’s loss to the Browns and was on crutches Wednesday. He was a holdout at voluntary offseason sessions the last two seasons in the hope of forging a long-term contract, but there has been no progress.
The 49ers signed Boone as an undrafted rookie in 2009, and he said he’s open to coming back to the team that gave him his NFL start.
“I’m excited about free agency,” he said. “But at the same time, I’d love to hear an offer from the Niners.”
Et cetera – Receiver Torrey Smith sat out practice with the same back injury that limited him to 27 of the team’s 56 offensive snaps Sunday. Smith never has missed a start due to injury since entering the league in 2011.
▪ Both outside linebacker Aaron Lynch and tight end Vance McDonald were in blue, no-contact jerseys in Wednesday’s practice. They suffered concussions Dec. 6 in Chicago and were held out of the next week’s game in Cleveland. Both are expected to play Sunday.
▪ The Saints signed ex-49ers running back Kendall Hunter on Wednesday. The 49ers were prohibited this year from re-signing Hunter, who suffered an ACL tear last season, because they did not work out an injury settlement within five days of placing him on injured reserve.