Trey Lance Likely to Start for 49ers vs. Texans; Jimmy Garoppolo Doubtful with Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
AP Photo/Wade Payne

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans because of a thumb injury.

With Garoppolo unlikely to play, the Niners are set to start rookie first-round pick Trey Lance for the second time, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Garoppolo suffered a right thumb UCL tear and fracture in last week's loss to the Tennessee Titans and has dealt with health concerns throughout his career. He appeared in only six games in 2020 because of high ankle sprains and played three games in 2018 before tearing his left ACL.

He has completed 68.0 percent of his passes for 3,494 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 games this season. Garoppolo is 8-6 in his 14 starts, and the Niners are 8-7 overall.

San Francisco selected Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft out of North Dakota State, seemingly making him the franchise quarterback of the future. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has used him in certain packages throughout the year, especially since he can make plays with his legs.

Lance has appeared in five games and tallied 354 passing yards, 137 rushing yards, four total touchdowns and one interception.

At 8-7, the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles are tied for the final two wild-card spots in the NFC, one game ahead of the 7-8 Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.

San Francisco can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win and a Saints loss or tie against the Carolina Panthers.