ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Colin Kaepernick threw dozens of passes on the side during the 49ers’ joint practice Thursday with the Denver Broncos, signaling the quarterback’s return from a sore passing shoulder.
The throws were the first on the practice field in a week for Kaepernick, whose competition with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job had to be put on hold after tightness in his right shoulder forced him to rest his throwing arm.
Kaepernick also took part in individual quarterback drills and conditioning. However, coach Chip Kelly said Kaepernick would be eased back into full participation in practices and ruled him out for Saturday night’s exhibition game against the Broncos.
Kelly said the plan outlined by the team’s medical staff in consultation with Kaepernick called for the quarterback to ramp up his practice participation next week with the notion of getting playing time in the team’s third exhibition at home against Green Bay on Aug. 26.
“They’re easing him back into throwing right now,” Kelly said. “In talking to him, he says he feels really good. But we don’t want to throw him back out there and then have a setback. From what we understand, it’s not a long-term thing but we’re just getting him back into it. That’s the plan, to see if he can, so that he’s a full go to get ready to play the following week.”
Kaepernick started by throwing passes of about 10 yards to assistant equipment manager Doc Dressler. Running back Carlos Hyde also came over to catch a few passes from Kaepernick, who later stretched out his throws to about 25 yards.
Throughout the various side sessions and distances, Kaepernick was throwing tight spirals with plenty of zip. His participation in individual footwork and dropback drills was strong and crisp.
The team had Kaepernick back off his passing work after he experienced shoulder soreness following practice on Aug. 10.
Gabbert was expected to start against the Broncos on Saturday night with Jeff Driskel also seeing time.
Christian Ponder, signed earlier this week to bolster the team’s quarterback depth, also was expected to see action.
The 49ers lost quarterback Thad Lewis to a season-ending knee injury in their exhibition opener last Sunday against Houston.
Ponder was out of the league last season after being released in training camp by the Oakland Raiders.
“He’s got to knock the rust off a little bit but for the first time out there, he did a good job,” Kelly said of Ponder’s initial practice with the team Wednesday. “Obviously, if we get him in the game Saturday, it will be limited in terms of, ‘What do you feel real comfortable throwing? What do you feel real comfortable running?'”
Notes: Hall of Famer Charles Haley has been on the practice field with his old team working with the 49ers’ pass-rushing linebackers. “He’s really been an invaluable tool for us,” Kelly said. “There’s a tremendous amount of knowledge that he has and he has had tremendous success in this league. … If he can impart some of that on our young guys, we want to have him around as long as Charles wants to be around.” … The 49ers wrapped up a second day of joint practices with the Broncos. Tempers flared several times between the teams but the skirmishes between players were quickly brought under control