San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick’s cast comes off as QB’s rehab continues

Colin Kaepernick slides during a 2015 49ers preseason game against the Cowboys.
Colin Kaepernick slides during a 2015 49ers preseason game against the Cowboys. The Bee

SANTA CLARA -- The cast on Colin Kaepernick's right thumb was removed this week as the 49ers quarterback continues to rehabilitate from three surgeries in Vail, Colo.

Doctors repaired a partially torn ligament on his right thumb last month. Photos of Kaepernick at a charity fundraiser over the weekend showed him with a black cast over the thumb and wrist, but the device was removed on Wednesday, a source said.

Kaepernick has had procedures on his thumb, left knee and left shoulder since November. There is no specific timeline as far as when he will be fully recovered, but the general sense is that it will happen some time in April.

If Kaepernick is on the 49ers' roster after April 1, the team will owe him his base salary of $11.9 million. That timing has led to speculation the team could move Kaepernick -- either via a trade or his outright release -- before that point.

Team officials have said repeatedly they are unconcerned with the April 1 deadline and that their main concern is that Kaepernick gets healthy. Incoming head coach Chip Kelly seemed non-committal about Kaepernick at his introductory press conference last month.

"Kap is an extremely talented football player and you need to have a good quarterback to win," Kelly said when asked specifically about Kaepernick. "But I was also impressed in the film that I watch in terms of how Blaine (Gabbert) played this year also. So I think statistics will bear out you probably need two quarterbacks in this league with the injury rate that quarterbacks have. So I think both of those players made this an attractive situation.”

Kaepernick met briefly with Kelly last month at 49ers headquarters. Otherwise, the quarterback has been rehabilitating in Colorado, not in Santa Clara.

Team officials will attend the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis next week, which is when decisions on free agents and trades typically are made. Teams cannot officially trade players until the new league year begins March 9.

Kaepernick's thumb injury, a partially torn ligament, occurred during an Oct. 22 loss to the Seahawks. He started the following week’s game against the Rams, which is when he injured the knee. Kaepernick was benched the following week in favor of Gabbert.

Doctors at the Steadman Clinic in Vail performed arthroscopic surgery on Kaepernick’s knee at the same time the thumb was repaired. He was sacked 28 times in eight starts after going down 52 times in 2014.

On Nov. 24, doctors also repaired a tear in Kaepernick’s left labrum (shoulder). That procedure also occurred in Vail.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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