Rookie quarterback Trey Lance has joined the ranks of prominent San Francisco 49ers who have been sidelined by injury leading up to the 2021-22 regular season.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday evening, August 30 told media members via a conference call that Lance suffered an injury to his throwing hand, which will keep the young phenom out of practice for at least the next week.
“Imaging of #49ers Trey (Lance’s) throwing hand revealed a small chip in one of his fingers [either thumb or index finger from TV replays] and he will be out of action a week, Kyle Shanahan says,” Cam Inman, reporter with Bay Area News Group, tweeted.
Lance suffered the injury during the Niners’ final preseason game on Sunday, August 29 — a 34-10 victory over the Los Angeles Raiders.
Lance Injury May Have Ended QB Competition in SF, For Now
Of all the news swirling around the Niners in the weeks leading up to the regular season opener against the Lions in Detroit on September 12, the most talked about topic has been the battle for the starting quarterback position between Lance and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo.
After trading away three first-round picks, among other assets, to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 in this year’s NFL draft in order to select Lance, Shanahan and Niners general manager John Lynch initially stood firmly behind repeated declarations that Garoppolo would kick the year off as the starter.
However, that language has gradually shifted over the course of training camp and throughout the team’s three preseason games as Lance frequently outplayed Garoppolo during practice sessions.
The first change in the conversation came when Shanahan said Lance would play significant snaps in Week 1, though that did not mean he would be the starter.
The next update noted that there would be something of a two-quarterback system in place, though indications and intimations pointed to Garoppolo as the primary signal caller with Lance serving as a supplemental quarterback of sorts.
Then, last week, Shanahan decided to go cryptic with the media, refusing to officially name a starter but hinting that he was close to a decision — one he claimed weeks before had already been made in favor of Garoppolo.
“I got a pretty good idea,” the head coach said of who would be the starter come Week 1. “But as you guys can see with everything, I don’t know our schedule a couple of days from now. I’ve always had a pretty good idea, but there is lots of days between now and then at every position.”
Shanahan Still Refuses to Name Starter, Even After Lance Injury Announcement
Shanahan did not name Garoppolo the starter Monday night, even after providing the announcement about Lance’s injury.
While it seems likely the job is now Garoppolo’s, at least for the time being, the initial injury projection sidelines Lance for only a week, which would put him actively back on the practice field for six days leading up to the Niners’ Week 1 showdown with the Lions. Theoretically, he could be ready to start if needed.
Beyond that, Shanahan pontificated last week about the value of informing the public at all as to his thoughts on who the starter would/should be.
“I look at it more as, what do you gain by naming it?” the head coach said Wednesday. “There would be one reason I could think of by naming it that would help and that would be to end those questions. If you could give me another reason that’s a big advantage, that helps our team, affects anything that has to do with us, then I will name it.”
“But I don’t think it does. Why tell people?” Shanahan continued. “I know you guys want an answer and stuff, which is fine. I get the suspense of it, but I’m not just going to answer it to end your guys’ suspense. Try to get you more clicks.”