Garoppolo misses another practice; Warner confirms Lance’s improvement

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) looks to hand the ball off during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 30-10. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Kyle Shanahan is really trying to make it seem as though Jimmy Garoppolo has a chance to start for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday when they take on the Houston Texans at Levi’s Stadium.

“The trainers are taking him out right now to see how much he can do. If he can do some, he’ll be limited today. If not he won’t practice, we’ll try again tomorrow,” Shanahan told Bay Area media during a Zoom call Wednesday afternoon.

Garoppolo tested the thumb out but left the field before Wednesday’s practice started, and the team signed quarterback Tyler Bray to the practice squad. Bray was previously with Kansas City (2013-2017) and Chicago (2018-2020).

After Shanahan described Garoppolo’s injury as a thumb sprain on Monday, there were additional reports later in the day that included a fracture. On Wednesday, Shanahan clarified the injury.

“On the third-degree sprain he had on his UCL, when that is ripped up, it pulled off a little fleck of his bone,” Shanahan said. “And when there is a bone that has something off of it, you can call it a fracture, you can call it a chip, you can call it something.

“But that really isn’t what’s keeping him out. It’s the third-degree sprain that he has, but because it’s not moving he doesn’t need surgery and he has a chance to play this week.”

If Garoppolo is unable to play, Shanahan will look to rookie Trey Lance to keep the 49ers playoff hopes on track.

Lance has not attempted a pass since making his first NFL start against Arizona in early October, but he has been preparing for the opportunity.

“Trey’s been preparing like he’s going to start every week,” said Shanahan. “He’s developed a routine throughout this year that’s no different if he’s the backup or the starter.

“He’s excited because he sees early in the week he’s got a chance of possibly starting, and he definitely gets to start a practice today, so I know he’s excited about that.”

Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Monday that this last month has been Lance’s best consecutive four weeks of practice since joining the 49ers, and the defensive coaches and players would all say the same. Fred Warner was asked about what he’s seen from Lance over the last month.

“I think his confidence has continued to grow and grow,” said Warner. “I think early on in the season working on the scout team he was playing things safer, using his legs a lot to run, didn’t want to throw an interception.”

It may have been a conversation with the All-Pro linebacker that helped turn things around for Lance.

“I kind of had to pull him to the side and tell him, ‘This is your opportunity to take chances and develop in that part of your game. Take a chance. See if you can fit the ball into tight spaces. Can you make a big play down the field?’ said Warner.

“After that conversation he started to just grow, and you started to see these crazy plays where he’s just getting the ball right over guy’s fingertips and making great plays downfield. It’s just a confidence thing.”

The 49ers will need Lance to show that growth on if called upon to face the Texans. San Francisco could clinch a playoff berth with a win over Houston and a New Orleans loss to Carolina on Sunday.

This article has 19 Comments

  1. Lily Tomlin (no relation to Steelers HC Mike Tomlin /s) said: “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.” With all of the competing narratives regarding the 49ers and the NFL in general, I don’ t know how anyone can tell which of the competing narratives has any truth in it. This old guy has given up trying. I think quoting another famous person does it for me: “A little less conversation and a little more action” (Elvis Pressley)

  2. Let me just add to the confounding way in which Kyle is handling this entire situation by reminding everyone that, despite the fact that the Houston Texans are coming off of a win, they are currently ranked dead last offensively (32nd), and almost dead last defensively (30th). On top of that, the Texans also have a rookie QB who wasn’t drafted in the top 3, or even the first round.

    How in the world does Kyle Shanahan think that this is the way to handle this situation? I understand there is a competitive advantage to keeping a team guessing about your QB, especially when your two potential starting QB’s have such glaringly different skill sets. What I don’t understand is how this competitive advantage outweighs the way in which this looks from a fan’s perspective, as well as an analyst’s perspective .

    We’ve been led to believe that Trey Lance is the future. After all, the 49ers used a franchise record amount of draft capitol in order to get him. We’ve also been told that Trey Lance is developing nicely behind the scenes. We’ve been told that he has made big strides recently, and is playing his best football.

    So then how could it be possible that a Grade 3 UC Ligament Sprain on the OPOSABLE thumb of a QB’s throwing hand, which, according to SportMed, is consider the MOST SEVERE, and is described as: “A complete tear of the ligament resulting in severe pain, extensive bleeding, and swelling. The athlete is usually unable to bear weight on the limb. There may be a feeling of complete dislocation, even though that may not have happened” …. isn’t enough of an injury for Kyle to show confidence in his prized rookie?

    How does Kyle not understand how bad this looks?

    Why wouldn’t Kyle take this opportunity to show confidence in Trey Lance, and act like this team can be a very dangerous team heading into the postseason, even with the highly touted rookie QB at the helm? Wouldn’t that give his team a much stronger psychological edge than looking like he’s desperate NOT to play his prized rookie, heading into the postseason?

    1. And how does acting desperate NOT to play Trey Lance do anything but potentially HURT Trey’s confidence?

      I can only imagine how demoralizing this must be for him.

      1. This is the NFL and do you really expect the coach to be worried about someone’s feelings?

      2. I can only imagine how demoralizing this must be for him.

        Treys a big boy, he can handle it. If he can’t, he’s definitely not NFL material.

        (Jeez, why am I even responding to reasons silliness?)

  3. The way I read this is that Jimmy feels he’ll be ready Sunday and Kyle hopes he is. I’d say the odds are still fairly good that jimmy starts. If not, next week for sure.

  4. Is anyone else a little worried that Trey has had a sprained knee and a broken finger and he’s only played like 12 quarters?

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t those come during a game when Shanahan used him as a human battering ram?

      1. Didn’t the finger issue happen during training camp? As for the knee, injuries are more likely with a running quarterback which is one of the reasons he was drafted. So far he’s getting injured at a faster rate than Jimmy.

        1. Only if your head coach calls 14+ designed run plays between the tackles for you. Seems a bit excessive don’t you think? A bit.

          His usage of Deebo as a rusher seems suspect as well. Especially late in the game when up big.

      2. After observation of Trey during practice sessions, that was probably the game plan Shannie thought he was capable of executing.

        Hopefully Trey has progressed since then, Shannie can devise something more conventionally QB centric if Trey is called into action these next few weeks.

      3. Yes but the injury came on a scramble. Josh Allen rushes the ball 6-8 times a game and has no injuries.

  5. I’ll say this much. Jimmy won’t be the reason this team doesn’t win a playoff or playoff games. It will be that old slow CB named Norman. He and Jimmy caused the team the game last Thursday. When they switch up their best receiver off of a rookie and send him to a vet and succeeded in doing so. That says a lot. Mosley gets healthy for the playoffs and start the rookie opposite. He’s already better than Norman.

    1. If I’m not mistake man Ambry Thomas and Moseley play the same side primarily. So I’m guessing it will be Moseley and Norman as the starters should Moseley come back. I am probably simplifying it a bit, but I don’t recall Moseley switching sides much, nor do I think it makes sense to roll Thomas over to the other side considering he’s a rook dealing with trial by fire

      1. Ya I think your right on here. The one positive is you feel good about Thomas coming in if need be. Better than Kirkpatrick.

      1. Yes in 2019, I am remembering that pick he had against Rodgers in NFCCG. Also we had Sherman laying LCB that seemed like such a long time ago. If my memory serves me correct Moseley was playing better than Jason Verrett!

        I agree that I almost would want Thomas at RCB over Norman. The only thing I would be worried about would be a meltdown where he gives up like 2 TD’s and has 2-3 penalties against him.

    2. I think Moseley can play both sides. Not 100 on it, but I could have sworn he did prior. And I’d still take a rookie on the right side over Norman at this point.

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