Trey Lance to make first NFL start with 49ers after Jimmy Garoppolo ruled out due to calf injury

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The optimism over Jimmy Garoppolo's calf injury earlier this week didn't lead to him practicing. 

And it will result in Trey Lance making his first career start. 

Garoppolo was not present at the beginning of San Francisco 49ers practice on Friday, according to reporters who cover the team. He missed all three practices this week. That means Lance, the third overall pick of the draft, will start Sunday at the Arizona Cardinals. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Garoppolo will be ruled out on the team's final injury report, paving the way for Lance to get his first start.

Trey Lance got first extended playing time last week

It's a big spot for Lance, who got his first extended playing time last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Lance threw two touchdowns but mostly looked shaky. That's expected for a rookie in his first extended NFL action. 

Getting a full week of practice, and a game plan tailed to his skills, will help. Lance did look more comfortable as last week's game went on. There were signs of his all-around skills, whether throwing or passing. It's an exciting moment for him and the 49ers. There's a reason the team paid a ton in a trade to move up to the third pick in the draft. 

Depending on how Lance looks on Sunday, it could end up being a permanent move. That will presumably be determined by how Lance plays on Sunday, or with any further starts Garoppolo misses. 

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) is likely to make his first start on Sunday. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) is likely to make his first start on Sunday. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Lance has tough test vs. Arizona

The 49ers kept Garoppolo and gave him the starting job to begin the season. Garoppolo has looked pretty good. Certainly he's done nothing to lose the job. But injuries have been a part of his story with the 49ers, and this injury opens the door for Lance. 

The Cardinals are 4-0 and just shut down Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams last week. If Lance plays very well on Sunday and/or the 49ers win, it will be a hard for Kyle Shanahan to go back to Garoppolo. Many fans wouldn't be happy if Lance played well and the team went right back to Garoppolo. 

But that's dependent on Lance playing well against one of the NFL's best teams on Sunday. It's not too crazy to believe that game could change the shape of the 49ers for the rest of the season. 

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