Jimmy Garoppolo won’t play Sunday, will need surgery after the season

NFL: AUG 22 Preseason - 49ers at Chargers
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The 49ers tried to create a sense of mystery as to the identity of their starting quarterback on Sunday against the Texans. The mystery is now conclusively resolved.

Rookie Trey Lance gets the start. Oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo won’t play, due to a ligament issue in his thumb. Multiple reports point to Lance getting an opportunity to finally show what he can do, after weeks of not doing anything.

Lance starts once, in Week Five. He served as the injury replacement for Garoppolo. Lance suffered a knee injury in the game, a 17-10 home loss. He last played in Week 11, running the ball three times for four yards in a 30-10 win over the Jaguars.

The 49ers reportedly are holding out hope that Garoppolo will return for Week 18 against the Rams. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Garoppolo eventually will need surgery to repair the thumb that was injured against the Titans during a Week 16 loss on the Thursday night before Christmas.

Although Garoppolo is expected to make a complete recovery (indeed, all surgical procedures performed on NFL players are deemed to be a complete success, until they aren’t), his health complicates the team’s plans for 2022. At times, he and the team performed well enough to spark talk of Garoppolo returning as the starter for the final year of his current contract, despite the huge draft-pick investment made to secure his inevitable replacement.

Garoppolo has a base salary of $24.2 million in 2022. None of the money is guaranteed for injury or otherwise, and there’s no trigger that converts any of the payments to guarantees — other than his presence on the active roster at the start of the regular season. It gives the team maximum flexibility to decide whether to keep, trade, or cut Garoppolo.

The final decision surely will be influenced by the manner in which Lance plays on Sunday. Indeed, that will become a factor in whether Garoppolo plays in Week 18. And both games will influence whether Lance or Garoppolo get the nod in the postseason, if the 49ers hold their current spot in the pecking order.

It’s similar, but not identical, to the situation the 49ers faced in 2012. Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith, who suffered a concussion during a game in November. Kaepernick instantly played well, seized the job, carried the 49ers to the brink of a Super Bowl victory, and supplanted Smith.

Lance arrived as the clear heir to Garoppolo. The move that the 49ers made from No. 12 to No. 3 signaled that they wanted a Jimmy G replacement, sooner than later. The decision flowed in large part from the fact that Garoppolo gets injured too often.

And now he’s injured again, with the playoffs on the line. That’s why they wanted someone else. Now, their hand-picked someone else gets a chance to show that, when the 49ers chose between Lance and Justin Fields and Mac Jones, they made the right choice.

15 responses to “Jimmy Garoppolo won’t play Sunday, will need surgery after the season

  1. A surgery can be deemed a success, even if the outcome means that the player is never able to play again. If they have to reattach ligaments in his thumb, and they are able to do so – the surgery is a success. The fact that after the surgery he may lack the ability to hold or throw a football doesn’t mean the surgery wasn’t successful.

  2. The 49er’s better be right with their assessment of Lance to lead them in the coming years, jury is still out, he’s hardly played. Jimmy G isn’t going to get it done. Lots of talent on the 49er offence, but we’ve seen it over and over in the NFL, without a top QB you can’t win. If Lance doesn’t pan out, SF is in a heap of trouble.

  3. Of course, Lance is 1-for-1 getting injured as a starter. Let’s see if he can even last one game without getting injured.

  4. Time to see if this kid is worth a top 3 pick and (3) 1st rounders.

    I was a fan in the mac jones camp on draft night. I just felt Jones was pro ready and accurate while winning from the pocket with his mind/arm/anticipation all things the great QBs do

    Lance maybe talented but he not only played D1AA but, was inaccurate and passed roughly around 10-15 times a game. Showed no touch on passes. I’m rooting for him and hope he proves me wrong but, unfortunately I think the 9ERS picked the wrong QB do to media and fan reaction.

  5. Texans 31 – 49er’s 24 – The Texans will intercept 2 passes and get a fumble recovery due to Lance. Mills will out play Lance with 3 TD passes. I hope it does not happen, but I would not be surprised if the Texans defense knocks Lance out of the game due to his one read then run approach.

    I would take the Texans and the points, but the Texans will win straight up!

  6. statechamp77 says:
    January 2, 2022 at 11:06 am
    Texans 31 – 49er’s 24 – The Texans will intercept 2 passes and get a fumble recovery due to Lance.

    Would the result be any different if 2 Int. Jimmy G were playing???

  7. The Niners should have used a third on Davis instead of three first round picks on Lance. Weird that the team whiffed so badly as the played about 20 minutes away from team headquarters.

  8. “The Niners should have used a third on Davis instead of three first round picks on Lance.”

    Lance has only started ONE GAME, and that was filling in for Garoppolo. This will be his second start in the NFL…..and unlike the Patriots, the Niners have a much, much tougher schedule.

    We won’t know what Lance can do until next year.

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