Jimmy Garoppolo at least a week away from returning

Jimmy Garoppolo at least a week away from returning

The 49ers aren’t sure yet who will start Sunday against the Cowboys, but they know it won’t be starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo remains at least a week away from a return to practice, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.

Shanahan hopes to get Garoppolo back under center for the Week 16 game against the Cardinals. Garoppolo has not played since Week 8, because of a high-ankle sprain that nearly required surgery.

“I wouldn’t say I’m confident,” Shanahan said, via David Lombardi of TheAthletic.com. “I think it’s up in the air. I’m waiting to hear from the doctors. It’s something that, when you have the high ankle sprain that he had, that was worse than everyone else’s and was so close to surgery, the only way we’re going to put him out there if it’s completely healed.

“I’m not going to risk him having to get surgery on it. I don’t want to put him out there for a last game or last two games for him having the chance to re-injure it and have to have surgery in the offseason. So, until the doctors tell me that there’s no chance of that and that has to do with Jimmy pushing himself like he has been doing, having no soreness and things like that, that’s when we’ll do it.”

Nick Mullens had a fumble returned for a touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown in the 23-15 loss to Washington on Sunday. That could earn him a demotion in favor of C.J. Beathard for Sunday.

“I think after the way the game went yesterday, we’ll think about everything,” Shanahan said. “I’m just trying to consider what will give us the best chance to win and that’s pretty much what I try to decide on that every week based off who plays.

“Just the way we’ve been turning the ball over so much, I need to decide if changing quarterbacks will help or not.”