SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jimmy Garoppolo went down fighting Sunday, and as he tried to limit the lost yardage on a third-down sack, his left foot was fractured in the process.
That put a sudden halt to his season, not to mention the best four-game stretch of Garoppolo’s career, which has been interrupted by multiple injuries since he made his first 49ers start exactly five years and one day earlier.
“It just stinks because I really felt him coming on even more so this year,” defensive end Nick Bosa said. “He’s always been a great leader but I felt him really, really caring about this team and his part, and obviously his big role as quarterback.
“I saw him at halftime and it was pretty emotional.”
Garoppolo’s exit thrust rookie Brock Purdy into his first meaningful action, and Purdy responded with two touchdown passes in an eventual 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Where Garoppolo goes from here is, well, surgery.
“He broke a few things in there,” Shanahan said.
Where Garoppolo plays next is, well, an even more unnerving plight than this past year, when his March 8 shoulder surgery scuttled his trade market and led him to remain with the 49ers’ on a reduced-salary contract that expires at season’s end.
The 49ers, who improved to an NFC West-best record of 8-4, ruled out Garoppolo with 8 1/2 minutes remaining in Sunday’s first half. That’s about when Shanahan learned, too, and that Garoppolo left the stadium during the third quarter.
Only 2 1/2 months ago, Garoppolo was summoned off the sideline to replace Lance, who sustained an ankle fracture against the Seattle Seahawks in the home opener, also in the first quarter, also on Levi’s Stadium’s north side of the field.