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The San Francisco 49ers are optimistic that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Houston Texans due to a torn UCL in his right thumb, returns to the regular season finale on Jan. 9 against the Los Angeles Rams, sources . told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Niner running back Elijah Mitchell, doubtful for Sunday due to a knee injury, is expected to return to action after a three-game absence, a source told Schefter.
Garoppolo did not attend any of the team’s four training sessions this week, but head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Friday that he “kept hoping” for Garoppolo to start against the Texans, saying: “He has a chance this week, so he gets a better chance next week. “
According to Shanahan, the Niners’ medical staff made it clear that Garoppolo would have a better chance of healing and potentially playing this week the longer he endured throwing. So instead of testing the injured thumb in practice, Garoppolo was kept out completely.
Meanwhile, all indications are that rookie Trey Lance will get his second NFL start on Sunday. In addition to getting all the starting reps into practice, Lance was made available to the media on Friday, his first interview session with local media since following his start against the Arizona Cardinals on October 10th.
Nate Sudfeld, who was elevated from the training squad to the active list with one of the 49ers’ COVID-19 replacement designations, will back Lance if Garoppolo is unable to play.
Mitchell, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft, has missed the Niners’ last three games. Shanahan said Mitchell had his best day since the injury on Thursday and had no setback on Friday.