49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo returns to practice, Trey Lance still out

The 49ers might be switching quarterbacks again — this time back to their starter.

Jimmy Garoppolo participated in practice Monday, while rookie Trey Lance was sidelined with his knee injury. Per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, Jimmy G didn’t appear limited by the calf injury that he suffered in early October.

Both developments could mean he’ll have his job back this weekend as the Niners look to end a three-game slide versus the Colts. The bigger question is whether Garoppolo’s return will lead to better results.

Jimmy G has missed San Francisco’s last six quarters after suffering a calf strain in the first half of the team’s Week 4 loss to the Seahawks. That opened the door for Lance to see his first extended action and make his first NFL start the following week against the Cardinals. The rookie came out of the latter contest with a knee sprain that has left in status for Week 7.

QB health has been a recurring issue for San Francisco in recent years, starting with Garoppolo. He’s missed 24 of 53 starts since the franchise made him the highest-paid player in the league before the 2018 season. Moreover, the veteran has struggled when healthy enough to play over the past 13 months.

Injuries and inconsistency at the game’s most important position are perhaps the primary reasons the 49ers (2-3) haven’t approached the heights of their Super Bowl run from just two years ago. All of it led to trading up in the 2021 draft and selecting Lance to be the future starter. But the twists and turns at QB, and for the team as a whole, are still very much a thing of the present.

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