San Francisco 49ers

‘Fatigued is a better word.’ 49ers’ Baalke talks Kaepernick, who throws on Wednesday

Colin Kaepernick did not play in the 49ers’ preseason opener against Houston. His availability for Saturday’s game against the Broncos is tenuous, too.
Colin Kaepernick did not play in the 49ers’ preseason opener against Houston. His availability for Saturday’s game against the Broncos is tenuous, too. The Bee

ENGLEWOOD, Colo -- Trent Baalke noted that Colin Kaepernick threw some on Wednesday and the plan is for the quarterback to do a little more on Thursday.

"And we'll continue to bring him back as we see fit and as he sees fit," Baalke, the 49ers' general manager said at the team's hotel outside of Denver.

To this point, the 49ers' medical staff has been cautious with Kaepernick, who complained of "tightness" in his throwing shoulder last week. He took a few short throws on a side field Wednesday but did not throw during any of the formal practice drills. He has not taken part in a full practice in seven days.

Baalke later said that "injured" probably was the wrong description for Kaepernick. “Fatigued is the better word," he said. Kaepernick declined to talk about his arm after practice.

The team's cautious approach suggests that Kaepernick also will miss Saturday's preseason game against the Broncos. Does that mean there's no longer a true competition, with Blaine Gabbert, to be the 49ers' starter?

"Obviously, the goal is to get him out there and have him play," Baalke said of Kaepernick. "But we're going to be very smart in how that's done. He's not ready right now."

It's been suggested that the 49ers might want Kaepernick on the sideline all season. That would remove the threat of a serious injury, which in turn would eliminate the 49ers' risk of having to pay him $14.5 million that's guaranteed for injury.

Baalke dismissed that notion.

"No facts," he said. "… Like we maintained all along, Kap's going to be given every opportunity, just as Blaine is, just as Christian (Ponder) is, just as Thad (Lewis) was. They're given every opportunity to earn that role."

Kaepernick asked for a trade in the offseason. His main gripes were with the 49ers' front office and with the team's medical staff. Kaepernick had three surgeries after he lost his starting role in November, and all three procedures were done at a private clinic in Vail, Colo. not by team-affiliated surgeons.

Baalke said Kaepernick and the 49ers' medical staff were "working very well together" on his latest issue. Asked if Kaepernick, who never went through a full practice in the spring because he was recovering from those surgeries, should have been given a break sooner this summer, Baalke said, "Hindsight's always 20-20."

"This isn't a case of, who made a mistake?" he said. "This is a just, a young man who went out and his arm's tired. So rather than push it further, let's back it down, give him some time to rest it. We don't have to be ready to play a game just yet. This is preseason football."

Kaepernick met with Broncos general manager John Elway -- twice -- while trade talks were occurring in the offseason. But he hadn't met with Baalke until recently. Baalke said that sit-down meeting happened a couple of weeks ago.

“We had a good conversation," Baalke said. "Colin is here to compete. All this stuff from the offseason, that’s behind us.”

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

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