The decision to end the season of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick surprised everyone, and for good reason. Kaepernick had been listed as probable for Sunday’s game at Seattle with a left shoulder injury. He fully participated in practice all week, making the sudden roster move even more of a shock.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Kaepernick initially reported minor shoulder soreness after the October 4 loss to the Packers. By Monday, however, he had improved enough that no treatment was needed — and thus the injury was not disclosed.
When Kaepernick returned last Monday from the bye week break, he complained once again about soreness in the shoulder. The 49ers medical staff determined the source of the soreness, and treatment commenced.
On Friday, Kaepernick told the team after practice that the shoulder was not feeling any better. He inquired as to the options. That resulted in discussions between the team and Kaepernick’s representatives, culminating in the decision to place Kaepernick on injured reserve.
Multiple reports indicate that Kaepernick will have surgery on the shoulder. In theory, he could be released from injured reserved, either with an injury settlement or through unilateral action by the team (subject to a potential grievance disputing that he’s healthy).
It had been believed that Kaepernick at some point would play again this year, if for no reason other than to showcase him for a potential trade. He remains expected to be traded or released before his 2016 base salary becomes fully guaranteed on April 1.