Back to discuss back

Jeff Garcia made an appearance at 49ers training camp Tuesday, a place the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback hasn't been spending much time lately. But he wasn't there to practice. Instead, he talked about the back problem that has kept him out the past week and will force him to miss Thursday's exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders, and maybe even more practice time after that.

Here's some excerpts from Garcia's conversation with reporters:

Q: What have you been doing to help your back calm down?

Garcia: I had two more epidural shots last Thursday, so over the weekend I allowed it to settle in and I really stayed off my feet and relaxed. As difficult as it was to watch a game from the living room couch and not be there with my teammates, that was probably the most frustrating part of it all. But I don't think I would have been doing myself any good by going on a four-hour flight and then standing for four hours at a game and then another flight. Because really that seems to be the time when I fell the most discomfort in my back, is when I'm sitting for long periods of time.

Q: What does an epidural do?

Garcia: It basically contains the swelling that's pushing on the nerves, like putting a cortisone shot in your lower back, I assume. It doesn't necessarily clean up the problem but it helps to stabilize it in certain ways. There was some aching the next three days after the shot, but since that time I have been back to treatment, back to rehab doing a lot of core work and stabilization type work. Just stuff that's going to help benefit me in the future. Like I said, I feel like I'm ready to go out there, but I also can't push it or rush it.

Q: Are you concerned that this might affect you in the regular season?

Garcia: I'm trying not to think about it that way, when I was out on the practice field practicing I was not even worried about it. I was making every throw that was required out of me. I was throwing it on the run, throwing in the pocket, and doing the normal stuff that I normally do. Like moving within the pocket, making things happen and that's the approach I'm going to take when I do get back out on the football field. I'm trying not to think about it and I'm not necessarily thinking about this being an issue throughout the season. I really don't want it to be and I hope that it's not.

Q: What's your self-prognosis on the injury?

Garcia: I have a bulging disk that just takes some time to settle down and get back into place. I think that everything that we're doing as far as rehab goes is an attempt to get it back into place. And that is just something that I need to continue to do.

Q: How much do you feel it's hurting you to miss this practice time?

Garcia: It's like going into the beginning of training camp again. I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to have been in those first two or three days but I felt like I was adapting very quickly. It will be one of those things where I know I'm not going to be as sharp as I want to be or as sharp as I expect to be but it will come back to me very fast. It's not like I'm not staying mentally in tune. I have a great understanding of what this offense is trying to do or what were doing as far as installation goes. I'm a veteran as far as that is concerned. I know what we want to do offensively on the football field. Now it's getting my timing back, getting comfortable, moving around in the pocket, making the throws, being as accurate as I need to be. Those are the things that are going to take a couple days. It is going to take two or three days to get back into being sharp again but it will come fast.

Q: Is it important to you that you play at all in the preseason?

Garcia: I really believe, just for my own mental frame of mind, that it is important for me to play in a preseason game. I would really like to play against the Saints (on Aug. 23) and have, whether it's a full half, or whatever the coaches decide that it may be, but just allow me to get out there and get knocked around a bit, get put in situations where I need to make quick decisions, where I need to move around, where I need to make certain throws because that helps knock the rust off of me I think. I think that is, for my own mental well being, important for me. Whether that will make a difference as to how I play against Chicago (in the Sept. 7 season opener) or not, for me, I'll feel better about it.

Q: Do you want to be out there watching on the practice field, or is important right now that you just stay away and rest?

Garcia: I would like to get out there and watch practice. I think more so than that right now, it's been a lot of treatment and rehab during practice sessions. I think it's going to be important for me to get out there. Maybe I'll watch practice from the side or maybe even try to get involved without throwing the football. Maybe I can do the footwork drills. That is something that I need to talk to our trainers about because it is hard for me to just sit there and watch. It is also important for me to show that I am part of the team because right now, being in a position like this, you almost feel like an outsider looking in and that's not really where I want to be or who I want to be.


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