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Niners QB Colin Kaepernick ruled out vs. Texans

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San Francisco's quarterback battle -- if it's even still a battle -- is on hold.

The 49ers announced that Colin Kaepernick will not play in Sunday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans.

It's no surprise after the veteran passer missed Friday's practice with what the team described as soreness in his right shoulder. In Kaepernick's absence, Blaine Gabbert will start Sunday with a chance to further his claim on the No. 1 spot. While Kaepernick emphasized that he's simply experiencing "tightness," it's just the latest setback for a player returning from multiple offseason surgeries.

Journeyman Thad Lewis and rookie Jeff Driskel should also see time behind Gabbert, who finished last year as the 49ers starter after wholly outplaying Kaepernick, who fell apart as a pocket passer in 2015.

More than a few beat writers covering the Niners believe this hyped-up competition is already over, with Cam Inman of The Mercury News tweeting that the duel, in his eyes, essentially "ended" with Kaepernick's latest injury.

New coach Chip Kelly split snaps between his two passers during camp and planned to give them an equal chance to compete in the preseason. Gabbert, though, would hold a distinct advantage with a productive showing this evening against the Texans.

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