Garoppolo could start vs. Texans despite thumb injury

The San Francisco 49ers fell to 8-7 on the season via last Thursday’s 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans and encountered a different setback when starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered what Chase Goodbread of the NFL’s website notes is a grade-3 UCL sprain of his right thumb that includes a chipped bone. 

However, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that Garoppolo does not immediately require surgery to repair the issue and, thus, could start for this coming Sunday’s matchup against the 4-11 Houston Texans. 

“I’ve been told he does not need surgery right now. To clear that up, (the sprain) is way it was worded to me, he has a Grade III sprain,” Shanahan explained about his QB1. “Reason they never mentioned to me a fracture it doesn’t have much to do with the sprain; it pulled off a fleck of the bone.”

Garoppolo earned criticism from fans and possibly a 49ers executive after he tossed two interceptions in the loss to Tennessee, but he nevertheless has helped the club get to within two victories of a playoff berth. Rookie Trey Lance, who has largely remained a spectator during his debut pro season, is next up on the depth chart if Jimmy G isn’t cleared to face Houston. 

Per ESPN stats, Garoppolo is eighth in the NFL among eligible quarterbacks with a 99.6 passer rating and 11th overall with a 53.7 total QBR. He’s completed 278-of-409 passes (68.0%) for 3,494 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

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