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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters quarterback Trey Lance likely won’t return from a broken ankle for the playoffs even though his rehab is going well.
“I haven’t been told there’s a chance, so I think things would have to be pretty drastic,” Shanahan said. “We weren’t expecting that much from the beginning. I think he’s right on schedule with everything, but I’ve not been told there’s a chance.”
At 6-4, the 49ers are currently tied with the Seattle Seahawks for first place in the NFC West. Should the team reach the postseason, it doesn’t appear as though Shanahan is planning on having Lance as an option as the backup.
Lance’s 2022 season came to an abrupt end. He suffered an ankle fracture in San Francisco’s 27-7 Week 2 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, which required surgery and ruled him out for the rest of the year.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport followed up to report the 22-year-old would need four to six months to make a full recovery.
Lance’s injury meant handing the keys to the offense back to Jimmy Garoppolo. For some, it was a lateral move and perhaps even a short-term upgrade to the passing game.
But the long-term implications of the injury presented plenty of concern.
Lance made one start in 2020 at North Dakota State after the FCS shifted to a spring schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, he’ll be entering his third year in the NFL with just eight appearances under his belt.
It’s impossible to know now how much Lance’s development has been thrown off course and whether he can assert himself as the 49ers’ franchise quarterback.