The 49ers have battled crops of injuries under Kyle Shanahan before. They seem to be doing so again. With quarterback Trey Lance and running back Elijah Mitchell already sidelined indefinitely, San Francisco lost perhaps its biggest name yet in Sunday night's Week 3 loss to the Broncos. Left tackle Trent Williams exited during the third quarter of the game, and coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters afterward that the All-Pro lineman likely suffered a high-ankle sprain, which could sideline him for weeks.
One year removed from landing a record $138 million contract extension, the 34-year-old Williams limped off about halfway through the third quarter after suffering leg pain. He had been blocking Broncos pass rusher Bradley Chubb beforehand, on the play in which 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo accidentally dropped back out of his own end zone for a safety. Medical personnel readied a cart to potentially transport Williams back to the locker room, but the lineman ultimately walked off with assistance.
Williams was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game, typically a sign that an injury is more serious, and replaced by second-year backup Jaylon Moore. Further testing will confirm the exact diagnosis for Williams, but a high-ankle sprain would likely keep him out of action for anywhere from four to six weeks on average.
That'd potentially be dire news for Shanahan's offense, which relies heavily on the line to establish a strong running game, as well as keep Garoppolo upright. With Mitchell injured, along with fellow running back Tyrion Davis-Price, the 49ers have been turning to backup Jeff Wilson Jr. as the primary ball-carrier, while also distributing carries to receiver Deebo Samuel. Williams, meanwhile, is generally regarded as one of, if not the, best left tackle in the NFL.