49ers’ QB plan against Colts: Garoppolo in, Lance out
SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo took the shotgun snap, rolled right and successfully pushed off his suspect right calf, launching a deep pass on target in Wednesday’s warmups.
The “quick, little jerky movements” are coming back to him.
Missing from Garoppolo’s shadow was rookie understudy Trey Lance.
That likely will remain the case through Sunday, when the 49ers (2-3) host the Indianapolis Colts (2-4) in what really could be Garoppolo’s biggest national showcase since Super Bowl LIV, or, more recently, last season’s win at New England.
“It’s that time of year. Time to grind,” Garoppolo said.
Some 2 1/2 weeks since exiting at halftime of a loss to Seattle, Garoppolo said his right calf feels “real good” and benefitted from his bye-week rehabilitation. That has coach Kyle Shanahan “pretty optimistic” about having Garoppolo start Sunday as they look to end a three-game skid.
Lance, meanwhile, missed a second straight practice, and he instead was seen hanging with an injured tight end George Kittle in the weight room.
Shanahan said there’s been no change in the initial diagnosis of Lance’s left knee, in which a mild sprain was discovered the day after his starting debut at Arizona, a 17-10 loss. Lance has backed up each of Garoppolo’s four starts, springing from the sideline for only seven snaps those first three games before his halftime substitution Oct. 3 against Seattle.
“We were hoping he’d go this week. Doesn’t look like it,” Shanahan added. “I’d be surprised if he’s not ready to go next week.”
After this prime-time visit by the Colts (2-4) and former 49ers stalwart DeForest Buckner, the 49ers will visit the Chicago Bears on Halloween day. Soldier Field is where Garoppolo made his 49ers’ starting debut in December 2017. The Oct. 31 visit will be the 49ers’ final game before the Nov. 2 trade deadline, though there’s been no indication of any potential trades, including of Garoppolo, whose $24 million salary could be an impediment even if the 49ers wanted to turn over the keys to a currently injured rookie in Lance.
When Garoppolo was forced out against Seattle, he was asked afterward if he feared a season-ending variety such as an Achilles tear, to which he quickly downplayed it as needing “just a couple of weeks.”
“Yeah, the ‘couple weeks thing’ was a little aggressive,” Garoppolo said Wednesday. “I’ve done it before in the past, similar injuries to that. I just knew my body and knew it’d take a couple of weeks. It was just a little pull, nothing too serious.”
Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, last year’s top draft pick, has already missed three games in his short career and could be on the verge of making it four. His predecessor, DeForest Buckner, has missed only 2-of-86 career games since the 49ers selected him with thei top pick in 2016 and surprisingly dealt him to the Colts in March 2020.
Kinlaw has spent all year managing a knee issue, one traced more so to last Dec. 20 against the Dallas Cowboys rather than pre-draft concerns about tendinitis.
“It’s a big concern this year. It’s nothing against him, but it’s been unfortunate, so his development right now is on hold,” Shanahan said. “I thought he was starting to turn into that player (late last season). Had a bad injury at the end that we thought he’d heal fast. It’s affected him all this year. That’s a setback now and why he’s behind the eigh-ball this year.”
Kinlaw missed the final two games his rookie season and this year’s opener because of that knee injury at Dallas.
“A game within a game. Sucker (expletive) in this business,” Kinlaw cryptically posted Tuesday in a photo-less Instagram story.
He was acquired with the 14th overall pick last year. That first-round pick (originally No. 13) came from the Colts in return for Buckner, who blossomed from a top draft pick on a 2-14 team and into a Pro Bowler on their 2019 Super Bowl squad.
Shanahan acknowledged that “I miss Buck a lot,” but he defended the move by referencing the 49ers’ ability to park their money elsewhere. Big deals in the past 17 months have gone to tight end George Kittle, safety Jimmie Ward, left tackle Trent Williams, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and linebacker Fred Warner.
“We wanted to keep Buck bad, but we had to look at all that stuff went into it,” Shanahan said. “It wasn’t something we were high-fiving after it happened. It came down to: Do you want to pay this amount of money to one guy, or do you want to pay two of the guys you’d lose (in free agency) and have the No. 13 pick in the draft.”
LEFT TACKLE ISSUE?
Left tackle Trent Williams (elbow, ankle) was kept out of practice. He’s routinely been held out of Wednesday sessions to rest, and there’s no indication how he sustained an ankle injury or how severe it is. He spoke to reporters Monday and said his elbow is fine, even though he practiced with it in a brace Monday.
The 49ers’ backup left tackle is Jaylon Moore, whose only offensive action his rookie year was a 22-snap cameo against the Seahawks.
OTHER HEALTH UPDATES
Linebacker Marcell Harris practiced with a fresh cast on his right hand, having required surgery on his thumb during the bye week.
Running back JaMycal Hasty looks spry and on track to come off injured reserve. He sustained a high ankle sprain in Week 2 at Philadelphia.