49ers' Colin Kaepernick on track to make preseason debut
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) After being kept from throwing during team drills since Aug. 10 while nursing a sore shoulder, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw against the defense on Monday.
Kaepernick is on track to make his preseason debut Friday against the Packers in San Francisco's third preseason game. His injury allowed Blaine Gabbert to start the first two exhibition games against the Texans and Broncos while he competes against Kaepernick for the starting job under first-year coach Chip Kelly.
''You know you got to get used to that cannon, man,'' 49ers receiver Bruce Ellington said. ''It was good. Kap, his arm was still strong. He's still throwing it in the right places.''
Jimmie Ward, who covered Ellington in practice, said Kaepernick connected with Ellington on a route to the corner during seven-on-seven drills.
''It was a great throw,'' Ward said. ''Kap was making some good throws today.''
Kaepernick resumed throwing on the side during joint practices with the Broncos at their Englewood, Colorado, headquarters last week. He had an extensive throwing session with Ellington running routes on the field before the 49ers' 31-24 victory Saturday.
At the start of training camp, Kaepernick and Gabbert split first-team practice reps.
Kaepernick spent the majority of the offseason program recovering from surgeries on his left shoulder, right hand and left knee and was not cleared to resume throwing until minicamp in early June. He participated in his first full-team sessions at the start of training camp July 31.
''We don't want to throw him back out there and then have a setback right now,'' Kelly said. ''So, as we said before, from what we understand it's not a long-term thing.''
With Kaepernick sidelined, Gabbert completed 10 of 19 passes for 132 yards with a touchdown throw in two preseason games. He played three series against both Houston and Denver.
In addition to Kaepernick's absence, the 49ers lost quarterback Thaddeus Lewis for the season when he tore an anterior cruciate ligament during the preseason opener. They signed former Vikings first-round pick Christian Ponder on Aug. 16 and he made his San Francisco debut four days later against the defending Super Bowl champions.
Ponder led two late scoring drives, running for a 22-yard touchdown and finding receiver Dres Anderson on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 to go, which was the game's decisive score. Ponder completed seven of eight throws for 86 yards.
NOTES: The 49ers said LB Nick Bellore suffered a knee sprain in Denver that will not require surgery. A time frame for his return is unknown. ... RB Shaun Draughn practiced in a blue non-contact jersey Monday after being held out of the game in Denver. ... Ellington returned to practice Monday after missing the Broncos game with an ankle sprain.
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