San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo missed practice all week with a thumb injury and is listed as doubtful, but there is still a chance he is available to the team again in the short term, at least in some capacity, according to league sources.
Garoppolo would have to deal with pain management issues with the thumb in order to practice or play, sources said, as there is no way to shoot him up and still have him be able to grip and throw the football as required. But there is some hope that the team's athletic staff could come up with a specific method of taping up his thumb and hand to limit the impact and strain on the injured area and allow Garoppolo to harness the ball sufficiently to still throw spirals and be able to participate in Week 17 in some capacity, or, if not this weekend, to get him back on the field in Week 18.
The 49ers did not want to experiment with different scenarios during the week, sources said, concerned that throwing too soon in practice would lead to a setback with the thumb. But they did keep a window open this weekend to evaluate how he looked throwing the ball and how he felt with the trainers attempting to tape up his hand sufficiently. Garoppolo has made it clear he is willing to try whatever is within reason to be of service to the team as it continues a late playoff push, but rest and rehab made the most sense during the week.
Rookie Trey Lance took the starting reps in practice all week and has prepared to face the Texans. But it remains possible head coach Kyle Shanahan could have multiple quarterback options available Sunday afternoon with the team continuing to assess Garoppolo's status through warm-ups before the game if need be, with the 49ers hosting a 4 p.m. kickoff.
Regardless of what transpires this weekend, the 49ers are hopeful of their starter playing for them again this season at some point. Injuries have been a constant throughout Garoppolo's tenure with the team, which was part of the impetus to move up in the 2021 draft to ultimately select Lance with the third-overall pick.