SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was held out of practices Thursday and Friday due to a sore throwing shoulder, will not play in the 49ers’ exhibition opener.
Blaine Gabbert will make the start on Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans. Thad Lewis and rookie Jeff Driskel will also be available for action.
Safety Eric Reid, who was excused late in the week due to a family matter, will also not be available for Sunday’s game.
Other players who are unavailable for action, according to the 49ers, are defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Glenn Dorsey, wide receivers DeAndre Smelter and Eric Rogers, and safety L.J. McCray.
Rogers is out for the year after sustaining a torn ACL during the first week of training camp. The 49ers have yet to replace him on the 90-man roster. Armstead has been bothered by a left shoulder injury. Dorsey and McCray are returning from ACL injuries that ended their seasons a year ago. Smelter has missed recent work after battling a hamstring issue in the offseason.
Gabbert, who has shared the first-team practice snaps with Kaepernick through most of training camp, will get an opportunity Sunday to take all of the action with the first-team offensive line.
Kaepernick said on Friday that he had not undergone an MRI examination on his throwing shoulder and was not concerned that the condition would keep him out of action for long.
Kaepernick had surgery in November on his non-throwing shoulder. He also underwent surgeries on his right thumb and left knee. But those surgeries have impacted Kaepernick’s throwing shoulder because he was unable to build strength during the 49ers’ offseason program because he was not cleared to participate in full football activities.
“That’s kind of the funny part,” Kaepernick said on Friday “I never thought I’d be dealing with this.”
Kaepernick said he did a lot of throwing to build up his arm before training camp, but it’s almost impossible to replicate the stress of a practice in training camp.
“I threw quite a bit,” he said. “But you can’t reproduce that live action, though and intensity and quick twitch that you need when you’re going against a defense.”
Coach Chip Kelly said the quarterbacks threw anywhere from 86 to 102 passes per day during the first nine practices. Kaepernick sat a light, hourlong practice on Thursday and Friday’s two-hour session with the Texans.