San Francisco 49ers

Injury to Jimmy Garoppolo could initiate the start of the Trey Lance era in San Francisco

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan revealed on Monday that starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo injured his right thumb in San Francisco’s loss to the Titans on Thursday, and the diagnosis seems pretty serious.

Garoppolo reportedly sustained a ligament tear and a fracture, and his status for Sunday’s game against the Texans is in doubt.

It’s unfortunate for Garoppolo, but this injury could signal the start of the Trey Lance era in San Francisco. The 49ers drafted Lance, Garoppolo’s backup, with the No. 3 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. He has obvious, abundant talent, but the 49ers opted to stick with Garoppolo to start this season while Lance presumably learns at practice and by watching.

Many careers in the NFL have gotten their start due to injury, and that goes for quarterbacks, too. In the most legendary of NFL QB controversies, Joe Montana’s injury opened the door for Steve Young in the midst of a 49ers dynasty. Tom Brady, perhaps the greatest QB in NFL history and a Bay Area native, got his start after an injury to starter Drew Bledsoe.

Shanahan will likely play it cool all week and not name a starter, but if Lance gets his shot, the ideal scenario for the 49ers is for Lance to take over and display his elite talent, shutting the door on Garoppolo — and opening the door to the Trey Lance era in the process.

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