Niners GM on Kaepernick: 'Fatigued is the better word'

Colin Kaepernick on Wednesday threw the ball for the first time in a week, but don't expect to see him play Saturday against the Denver Broncos.

Niners general manager Trent Baalke spoke cautiously about the quarterback after practice, telling Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee that "obviously, the goal is to get him out there and have him play, but we're going to be very smart in how that's done. He's not ready right now."

Kaepernick was held out of the preseason opener against the Texans with what was described as shoulder soreness. Baalke, though, emphasized that the signal-caller isn't "injured," saying: "Fatigued is the better word." 

The GM dismissed suggestions that San Francisco is angling to keep Kaepernick sidelined all season to prevent further injury, which would guarantee the quarterback's $14.5 million salary.

"No facts," Baalke said. "... Like we maintained all along, Kap's going to be given every opportunity, just as Blaine (Gabbert) is, just as Christian (Ponder) is, just as Thad (Lewis) was. They're given every opportunity to earn that role."

Perhaps, but Kaepernick has virtually zero shot to start Week 1 without a sensational preseason. While Gabbert did himself no favors against the Texans, he's still the quarterback who's taken nearly every first-team rep all offseason.

We might get a chance to see what Kap can do soon enough, however. Chip Kelly told reporters that the plan is to have Kaepernick throw to receivers Thursday and be a full participant in practice next week and play in the Niners' third preseason game.

We've written plenty about this position battle by the Bay, but the reality is simple: If Kaepernick is healthy -- and not being stashed away -- he'll eventually play. With one of the shakiest quarterback rooms league-wide, every passer on this roster has a chance to make spot starts in 2016.

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