In just his second game as the San Francisco 49ers‘ unquestioned starting quarterback, Trey Lance suffered a broken ankle and will undergo season-ending surgery, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced. Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo — who surprisingly stayed with the 49ers after being the subject of offseason trade rumors — is now under center.
Trey Lance injures ankle, 49ers look to Jimmy Garoppolo
It’s a devastating development for Lance, who barely played in his rookie season after the 49ers moved up to select him at No. 3 overall. Entering 2022, Lance had made just three starts since 2019 — one start at North Dakota State in 2020, and two starts in relief of Garoppolo in 2021.
Lance was expected to add a new element to San Francisco’s offense this season. His arm strength could have opened up the 49ers’ deep attack, while his rushing ability would have made the offense more dynamic. And, perhaps more than anything, Lance simply needed the live-action reps.
Now, the 49ers will turn back to Garoppolo, who led the club to an NFC Championship Game appearance last season and a Super Bowl appearance after the 2019 campaign. Jimmy G was widely expected to be traded or released over the offseason, but after the 49ers couldn’t find any trade partners, they kept the veteran QB on a reworked contract.
That decision now appears wise. Obviously, San Francisco couldn’t have known Lance would get injured in the second game of the season, but they protected themselves with a familiar face in Garoppolo. The 49ers could have been looking at a Nate Sudfeld-led offense. Instead, the roster that made a Final Four appearance last season is largely still in place.
For Garoppolo, his insertion into the lineup creates a massive opportunity. Now that he’ll get to start for the rest of the season, Jimmy G can re-establish himself as a starting NFL quarterback and set himself up for a payday next offseason. Depending on how well he plays, and how successful the 49ers are with him under center, San Francisco could be presented with a tough decision next offseason.