Jimmy Garoppolo Understands The Challenges Trey Lance Is Facing After Ankle Surgery

Sep 22, 2022, 4:58 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2022, 10:30 am
San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) hugs San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Trey Lanc...
INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 09: San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) hugs San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Trey Lance (5) before the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams on January 9, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo has been with the San Francisco 49ers since being traded in the fall of 2017 from the Patriots. In that time span, he’s lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance and two NFC Championships, including last season’s nail-biting loss to the eventual champions, Los Angeles Rams.

The other years: Wasted away by unfortunate injuries.

Jimmy G infamously suffered a torn ACL during Week 3 of the 2018 season after stretching out for the first down. He missed the remainder of the season as the 49ers stumbled to the finish line with a 4-12 record. 2020 was the same story, suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 2 that eventually forced him to sit out the rest of the season. The 49ers again stubbled to keep pace, finishing with a 6-10 record.

Fast forward to 2022 and the roles are flipped.

Garoppolo is the healthy quarterback, while his predecessor, Trey Lance, has been placed on season-ending IR with a broken ankle suffered in Week 2 against Seattle. The veteran has been a backup before but never expected to come on for relief duties in these circumstances.

“I’m just trying to stay in the moment right now,” Garoppolo said Thursday after practice. “I’ve never been a backup and had a starter get hurt like that. So it was a different experience but it was something to take in stride.”

Garoppolo has gone from QB1 to mentor during his NFL tenure, knowing his advice can serve wonders for the 49ers and Lance’s confidence as he rehabilitates his right ankle. Going through similar significant injuries, he understands the thoughts that run through one’s mind after the initial shock, taking a page out of Nick Bosa’s book to provide context.

“I actually heard Bosa’s presser the other day [after Week 2’s win Sunday] and he worked it pretty well because there is a moment where you feel like your life is over and you feel like ‘I can never get back to where I was’,” Garoppolo explained.

“But that passes and you gotta hit a point where it does pass and you mentally move on from that. And there’ll be hurdles for him to overcome, but I’m been around Trey for a couple of years now. He’s a tough dude so he’ll be alright.”

As for Lance’s mentality less than a week after the injury: Jimmy says Trey is already in zoom meetings with the team, keeping his mind firmly on football.

“Like I said before, Trey is our brother. Talked to him the other days, seems to be in good spirits right now,” Jimmy said.

The spotlight now shifts back to Garoppolo, a once though of savior for the red & gold in 2017. Now in 2022, nothing has changed, still eager to get back out there and lead San Francisco to the promise land, especially after almost leaving during the offseason.

“I think it lights a fire under you, I’ll tell you that,” he said regarding his conversations with head coach Kyle Shanahan. Obviously, as a competitor, you know, whenever you get told something like that, it’ll get you going a little bit. But you know, I have plenty of motivation, I don’t need that to motivate me but it always helps.”

Jimmy’s first start of the season is against a familiar foe in a whole new setting as the 49ers head to Mile High to take on Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos for Sunday Night Football.

A clash Wilson has dominated over his NFL tenure, holding a 17-4 record over the Red & Gold since being drafted by the Seahawks in 2012.

Now surrounded by a whole new cast in Denver, Garoppolo stills sees the same characteristics in the 33-year-old gunslinger that made him a Super Bowl champion.

“Tremendous player. I mean just a freak athlete, makes plays that shouldn’t be made. He has that unique ability to extend plays. Garoppolo said about his former NFC West rival. “He’s as competitive as it gets, and it’s fun to go against him as weird as it sounds, it is.”

To watch the full press conference with Jimmy Garoppolo, click here.

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