In the aftermath of the broken ankle suffered by 49ers quarterback Trey Lance in Week Two, some uncertainty had emerged as to the question of whether Lance has a chance to play again this year.
On Wednesday, coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Lance will not return later in the regular season, or in the postseason (if the 49ers make it there).
“He’ll be out until next season,” Shanahan said.
It’s unclear whether Lance would have a chance to recover and be ready to go. If there would be, Shanahan doesn’t seem to be interested in pursuing that route.
So it’s now about getting Lance ready for 2023. Shanahan was asked about Lance’s spirits.
“He’s doing as good as you can,” Shanahan said. “Trey’s been great. A number of guys, we’ve all talked to him a bunch, and he’s trying to come to the game this week. I don’t think he’ll be able to, until the swelling goes down, but he’ll be back and a part of us sooner than later.”
Lance will presumably be part of the team next year; he’s under contract through 2024. But the pressure will be more significant than ever on Lance as he enters his third NFL season. It’s not his fault. The circumstances added pressure and expectations for which he did not bargain. From being the third pick to the 49ers giving up so much to get him to having Jimmy Garoppolo on the team in 2021 and 2022 to watching Garoppolo possibly play so well this year that the 49ers would perhaps bring him back next year, Lance has had something far different than the typical experience for a first-round quarterback.
Year three is often the up-or-out season for first-round signal-callers. Even if Lance’s grace period is extended, he’ll be approaching the end of it — without having done much to make anyone think he may be the long-term answer in San Francisco.