Jimmy Garoppolo on rehab: 'Every day gets easier'

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We now know the San Francisco 49ers will open the season on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The biggest question remaining this spring is whether starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be full-go when the new year begins after suffering an ACL tear.

Speaking Wednesday, the signal-caller said he plans to be fully cleared well before that September date. Garoppolo is back throwing and said he hopes to be able to partake in seven-on-seven drills when the 49ers begin OTAs in mid-May and be fully cleared by the time training camp starts in late July.

"It's encouraging," he said, via the Associated Press. "Every day gets easier and easier. Able to make this throw better than I was a week ago. It's small victories like that. Throughout the whole process, it's all about small victories because you're not going to jump out and be able to throw it 60, 70 yards again. Small victories."

The 49ers need those small victories to turn into large wins come September.

Garoppolo blew his ACL just three games into what was to be his first full season with the Niners. The 27-year-old quarterback believes the only difference when the season opens is that he'll be wearing a brace on his surgically repaired left knee.

"I wore one initially as a rookie," he said. "Then, I kind of got away from it. I think this year it's a certainty. But, we'll see how it goes down the road."

The 49ers took a leap of faith when they handed Garoppolo a massive new contract just six games played after acquiring him from the New England Patriots. Now they need that faith to pay off by Garoppolo being back to full form for the season opener in Tampa and guiding them to a winning 2019 campaign.

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