San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo practices, on track to start

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is on track to start for the second week in a row as he returns from the high right ankle sprain that cost him 2½ games.

But even if Garoppolo makes it through this week of practice without any setbacks on his ankle, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said he intends to evaluate and monitor him in the game in a similar fashion to last week when Garoppolo was benched at halftime in a blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins.

"People have high ankle sprains and they'll affect you sometimes throughout an entire year," Shanahan said Wednesday. "I think it's pretty much as simple as that. It makes it hard for you to be at your best. By no means does that mean you can't play. Lots of guys have things that prevent them from being at their best, but if you can play, you've still got to go out there and perform. I'll be the judge of that watching him throughout the week, and if he has a good week of practice and looks like he gives us the best chance to win, then I won't hesitate [to start him]. If it looks like it hurts in the game and is prohibiting him, then we'll do what we did again."

Garoppolo returned last week against the Dolphins after he was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He was a full participant on Friday, though that practice is shorter and less strenuous than the other two.

This week, Garoppolo has reported no lingering issues from playing in Sunday's game and was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, a strong indication that he's trending toward starting against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, barring a setback.

"He's ready to go out there and go today," Shanahan said. "He's still coming back from it, but expect him to have a full practice and I'll evaluate him out there."

As for avoiding another situation like last week when Garoppolo's ankle left him compromised in the game, Shanahan said the ankle would be tested in similar ways. That means the usual routine of doing everything short of full-contact drills in practice.

The hope is Garoppolo will be better positioned to make it through the game healthy and perform better than he did against the Dolphins with a 1.4 QBR, which was the lowest of his career and of any quarterback in a game this season.

"I don't think he had too many big setbacks last week, so expect him to feel a little bit better this week," Shanahan said. "Honestly, you never know with a high ankle, but the only thing we can test more is tackling him and get him to the ground, and that's something we're not gonna do."

Shanahan said he hadn't yet decided if Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard would be Garoppolo's backup or the potential starter if Garoppolo has a setback this week. Mullens started the two games Garoppolo was out, but Beathard replaced him last week.