Colin Kaepernick due to begin rehab with 49ers on Monday

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was conspicuous by his absence from Sunday’s 19-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

If other benched/injured starters like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck can stand on the sidelines and support their teammates, where was Kaepernick, who underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder last Tuesday?

Coach Jim Tomsula said after the game that players who had recently gone under the knife were asked to stay away from the team to limit the potential of “infections and all that stuff. Then they come back to do the rehab.”

Same for defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, who underwent knee surgery the same day as Kaepernick’s procedure.

And Monday, nine days after Kaepernick was placed on season-ending injured reserve, six days after surgery, the deposed quarterback was due to show up at the Niners compound.

“It’s my understanding,” Tomsula said, “he’s in today to start his rehab.”

All signs point to an offseason breakup between Kaepernick, who is due a guaranteed $11.9 million if he is still on the Niners roster on April 1, and the 49ers. And with the serviceable job Blaine Gabbert has done in three starts since replacing Kaepernick – Gabbert is 1-2 and passed for a career-high 318 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals -- there are thoughts that Gabbert could be the starter next season.

Gabbert said he had spoken with Kaepernick last week.

“Just normal communication, hope he’s doing well,” Gabbert said. “Surgery’s never fun and it takes a while to bounce back from that and then you’ve got to start the treatment process.”

Plus, with it clear Gabbert is the guy going forward, he said he embraces the role.

“Playing the position of quarterback, when you’re the starter, you are the face of this team, whether you like it or not,” Gabbert said. “You’re put in a position to lead, not only the guys on offense, but this team.

“It’s a position I cherish, and I’m going to do my best to lead them to wins down the road.”

With, or without, Kaepernick on the sidelines.