49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance will sit out Sunday night’s contest against the Indianapolis Colts as he continues to recover from a left knee sprain he suffered in Week 5.
The team issued a rough injury report Friday afternoon, as defensive tackles Javon Kinlaw and Maurice Hurst are also out and star left tackle Trent Williams is listed as doubtful.
This is a concerning development for the 49ers, especially for the No. 3 overall pick, Lance, who is losing valuable practice and potential game reps in his rookie season.
While other top first-year quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones have combined to make 21 starts so far this season, Lance only has six meaningful quarters of play under his belt. Remember, the 49ers used this year's first-round selection, two future first-round picks and a 2022 third-rounder to move up and get Lance in April’s NFL Draft.
Coach Kyle Shanahan has caught some heat for the way he handled Lance's first NFL start in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. The dual-threat quarterback ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards but dealt with a lot of hard contact throughout the afternoon. The quarterback finished the game but felt sore the next day, saying he's not sure when he injured his knee.
Jimmy Garoppolo is in line to get the start Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts after exiting at halftime in Week 4 with a right calf injury that forced him to sit Week 5. Following the Week 6 bye, Lance still hasn’t recovered and will have to wait until at least Week 8 to challenge Jimmy G for the starting gig.
Garoppolo improved throughout the week after initially having trouble with quick-twitch movements in the pocket.
"He got better each day and I see him as 100-percent now,” Shanahan said.
The potential loss of WIlliams is another huge blow for the 49ers, who have been riddled with high-profile injuries the past couple of seasons. The hulking blindside protector didn’t practice all week after spraining his ankle in Week 5 and aggravating it at Monday’s practice.
"It's stemming from the Cardinals game," Shanahan said. "We didn't think it was as bad as it obviously is. As tough as he is, being able to finish that game and everything, but he re-zinged it a little bit at practice on Monday and hasn't been able to go since. But Trent out of anybody on this team, we’ll take up all the way to game time. So that's why he's still there.”
Rookie Jaylon Moore, a fifth-round rookie out of Western Michigan, could be called on to make the start.
The second-year Kinlaw has been dealing with chronic knee issues in his young career and hasn’t played since Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks. Shanahan said the team is considering placing Kinlaw on injured reserve if his status doesn't improve.
"It's something we're worried about and concerned about," Shanahan said. "It’s something we'll probably decide here in the next week.”
Hurst is dealing with a serious-sounding calf injury that happened this week, putting the depth of the 49ers defensive line in serious question.
“He hurt his calf, pretty bad injury," Shanahan said. "Just like these calf injuries have been in the past. I've been told anywhere from four weeks to eight weeks, so with it being 24 hours after that, we're not exactly sure yet, but it's going to be some time.”
Ironically, former 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who helped anchor the defense during its Super Bowl run during the 2019 season, is set to come to town. The 49ers traded Buckner to the Colts in March 2020 due to financial reasons and received the No. 13 overall pick of that year’s NFL Draft, which they eventually used to draft Kinlaw.