6:20pm: The 49ers confirmed in a tweet this evening that Lance “has suffered a broken right ankle and will require season-ending surgery,” according to Shanahan.
5:51pm: It seems the 49ers will have to face the worst-case scenario of today’s injury as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Lance’s ankle injury “is expected to require surgery that likely will end his season.”
San Francisco is fortunate, in the short term, that they held on to Garoppolo who will likely step in to quarterback the 49ers for the remainder of the season. There were whispers around the league that a trade could still be in the books as teams like the Cowboys saw significant blows to the quarterback position.
In the long-term, San Francisco has to have some concerns about the development of its young investment at quarterback. It’s certainly not Lance’s fault, but, if the rumor of his season ending are true, Lance will have gone three years in the NFL without playing any significant, consistent time at quarterback. In a sport that requires constant practice and refinement of skill, this is a disastrous start to what should be a promising career for Lance.
3:36pm: Today marked a significant point in Trey Lance‘s young NFL career. Instead of a bounce-back performance, however, it has resulted in the 49ers quarterback being carted off the field with a leg injury, as the team confirmed.
Lance will be out for the remainder of the game, per a club announcement. He had an air cast on his right leg before being taken of the field to the locker room. As a result of the injury, Jimmy Garoppolo has taken over behind center for San Francisco.
Lance spent the entire offseason knowing he would take over as the 49ers’ franchise signal-caller. The team traded up to select him third overall in the 2021 draft, so it came as little surprise that they turned their attention to the 22-year-old. Expectations were understandably high, but his limited action in college and as a rookie backing up Garoppolo led to plenty of question marks entering the campaign.
The North Dakota State product did little to quell doubts about his ability to operate as a high-end starter last week. In an upset loss to the Bears, Lance completed just 13-of-28 passes for 164 yards and an interception, adding 54 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Conditions played a major part in each teams’ offensive struggles, of course, but much was thought to be riding on Lance’s performance today against the Seahawks.
It was reported earlier this week that head coach Kyle Shanahan could turn to Garoppolo as early as the team’s next game against the Broncos in the event Lance struggled. Now, he has done so out of sheer necessity. Garoppolo was the source of trade speculation all summer long, but stayed in the Bay Area via a restructured contract. Depending on the length of Lance’s absence, the veteran could once again carry the load for an extended period.
In the immediate future, Garoppolo faces the task of guiding a 49ers offense which, for the second straight contest, does not include All-Pro tight end George Kittle against the Seahawks. Seattle pulled off an upset win over Denver last week, but San Francisco currently leads 13-0. Big-picture implications loom large for the team at the QB position, however.