The San Francisco 49ers received a rare spot of positive injury news Thursday.
After leaving the field during last week’s 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and missing practice Wednesday, October 6 with a shoulder injury, Niners’ All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams has been cleared to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Cam Inman, of the Bay Area News Group, took to Twitter and published comments Williams made to reporters following Thursday’s practice.
“#49ers LT Trent Williams (shoulder) expect to play at #AZCardinals,” Inman tweeted “(Won’t) say if expects #TreyLance to start, but said of him: ‘He has confident aura around him where you believe him the more you’re around him.'”
Williams Details Nature of Shoulder Injury, On-Field Events
Williams continued to expound upon the injury he suffered against Seattle, including exactly how it happened.
“I was trying to go back in and help my guard, and I ended up tripping over his dude’s feet,” Williams said. “And I just came down on my elbow, but obviously it affected my shoulder.”
The left tackle also addressed why he appeared in such an elevated state of distress as he left the field — a development that led to widespread speculation this week about the nature and seriousness of Williams’ injury.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I had to come out,” Williams explained. “It was fourth down, but I’m not trying to come out on the most important possession of the game.”
“When I went to the tent, they were just kind of concerned about the place of all the pain, so they just wanted to go get an X-ray really quick before they sent me back out there,” he continued. “That’s why I looked pissed, because I felt like that was the worst time to be leaving the game.”
QB Still a Question For Niners Heading Into Matchup With Cardinals
With Williams’ situation answered, just one big injury question remains for the Niners’ offense: Who will start under center come Sunday in the desert?
Niners’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo exited the game against the Seahawks at halftime with a calf injury. Initial comments by Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan implied the veteran starter was looking at a multi-week injury.
However, that timetable was amended on Monday, when the quarterback noted he had only suffered a contusion to his calf, leaving open the possibility he could go Sunday against the Cardinals if he could endure the pain.
Garoppolo has not practiced all week, and was absent again on Thursday. Rookie quarterback Trey Lance is set to take snaps for the Niners should Garoppolo fall somewhere short of ready before kickoff against the Cardinals.
A good indicator will be if the Niners decide to elevate third-string QB Nate Sudfeld from the practice squad to the active roster by Saturday. If they do, it is likely that it will be the inexperienced Lance, not Garoppolo, who will face down Arizona’s formidable pass rushing duo of Chandler Jones, who has already recorded 5 sacks on the season, and JJ Watt.
Should that prove case, the news of Williams’ newfound availability becomes all the more crucial to any hopes the Niners have of success in a road game against the NFL’s last undefeated team.