San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Trey Lance Sets Timeline for Return

The San Francisco 49ers' injury issues hit a critical mass in their NFC Championship game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and now they face an offseason of hard decisions at the quarterback position. Their 2021 third-overall pick may have a head start. Opening day starter Trey Lance told reporters on Tuesday that he expects to be 100% for OTAs.

Lance fractured his ankle early in the 49ers' Week 2 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks and missed the remainder of the season. Jimmy Garroppolo replaced him in the starting lineup, winning seven of 10 games before suffering a foot injury of his own. That cleared the way for rookie seventh-round pick Brock Purdy, who took the league by storm and won seven straight starts before suffering a potentially devastating elbow injury in the NFC Championship game.

With Garoppolo set to hit free agency, the 49ers find themselves in a serious quandary at quarterback. Acquiring Lance required a massive investment on the part of the 49ers, but Purdy demonstrated himself as arguably a more pro-ready quarterback across his eight starts. Purdy's injury complicates matters all the more: there exists a possibility he will require a total reconstruction of his UCL, which could affect his availability for training camp.

Lance has seen incredibly limited action in his two seasons, but the 49ers likely still believe he presents a higher upside than Purdy, who was the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft for a reason. If the 49ers elect to roll with Lance in 2023, it will take exceptional play to keep fans from clamoring for a Purdy return. If Lance bombs and Purdy is at all hampered by his injury, the 49ers could very well end up wasting a season with one of the league's best rosters.

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