An energetic, ebullient and seemingly strong-armed Colin Kaepernick on Monday went through a full practice with the 49ers for the first time since Aug. 10.
The quarterback threw short passes and deep passes next to Blaine Gabbert during the warmup portion before the full session was closed to the media. In the locker room afterward, Kaepernick said he went through a complete practice and his arm felt normal.
“Yeah, (there was) a little something behind it,” he said of his throws.
When it was suggested he looked happy to be fully participating again, Kaepernick smiled and said, “Very.”
Said tight end Garrett Celek of the zip on Kaepernick’s throws: “It seemed no different to me.”
Earlier this month, Kaepernick dealt with fatigue in his throwing arm that prevented him from throwing in five practice sessions and sidelined him for the first two preseason games. Gabbert, who has received all of the first-team snaps since, hasn’t been spectacular in the preseason, but coach Chip Kelly has praised him for not throwing an interception and not being sacked.
“I thought our quarterbacks were very accurate,” Kelly said of Saturday’s 31-24 victory over the Denver Broncos. “We were 19 of 24 and did a nice job of not throwing a pick, so they’re doing a good job from that standpoint. And I thought we protected the quarterbacks by and large, for the most part.”
When it was suggested Monday on KNBR that the 49ers’ summer quarterback competition already seemed to have an obvious winner in Gabbert, Kelly disagreed.
“We’re going to take the full time that we have to evaluate and make sure we have the right decision on who our quarterback’s going to be,” he said. “Our plan is to build (Kaepernick) up this week and see if we can play him on Friday.”
The game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium not only would be Kaepernick’s first action this preseason, it would be his first in-game snaps since Nov. 1. After Gabbert replaced him as the starter, Kaepernick had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder and was placed on injured reserve.
Et cetera – Wide receiver Bruce Ellington (ankle) was back at practice Monday, but fellow receivers Bryce Treggs (knee) and DeAndre Smelter (hamstring) were not. Smelter was rehabilitating on a side field. With Eric Rogers (ACL) also out, the 49ers might need to sign a receiver for the rest of the preseason.
▪ Running back Shaun Draughn wore a blue jersey, signaling for him not to be hit during practice. Draughn, the team’s No. 2 runner, took a blow to the ribs in last week’s practice and did not play Saturday.
▪ All of the 49ers’ offensive players went through a ball-security drill early in practice. The team has lost five fumbles in two preseason games.
▪ Offensive tackle Erik Pears and linebacker NaVorro Bowman did not practice during Monday’s short session, though neither seemed injured. Linebacker Nick Bellore also did not practice; he suffered a sprained knee Saturday but will not need surgery.