SANTA CLARA — The 49ers' starting quarterback job still lies firmly in the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo.
After the 49ers' 23-7 win over the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium on Sunday, coach Kyle Shanahan said that while Trey Lance was proficient enough to win the game, Garoppolo will return to the lineup in the regular-season finale next weekend if he is healthy enough to play.
Shanahan was unsure if Garoppolo threw a football at all prior to the game, but the 49ers' medical staff made sure the quarterback rested his injured thumb the entire week. Their belief is that the veteran has a higher chance of healing if he does not use and irritate the injured ligament.
“I think he will be able to do it this week,” Shanahan said after the game. “Still that is just giving you guys an honest guess. Hopefully I’ll have a better idea by Wednesday.”
Lance fared well after the 49ers' offense got rolling in their two-minute drive to close out the first half but Shanahan was clear that the job still belongs to Garoppolo.
“If Jimmy is 100 percent healthy and can do everything perfectly, then I’m going to definitely go with Jimmy,” Shanahan said. “I’m not just going to throw a guy in after one game like this when Jimmy has been doing it for us all year.”
Lance finished the day completing 16 of his 23 attempts for 249 yards, threw two touchdown passes and was intercepted once. His win over the Texans gives him a 1-1 record as starting NFL quarterback. Lance spoke after the game and shared that he wasn’t absolutely sure he would be the starter until Saturday.
“I obviously am with Jimmy everyday and asking him how he is feeling,” Lance said. “He was making good progress at the end of the week so I know he was frustrated that he wasn’t able to go. But I’m always ready to go. That’s my job. If Jimmy is healthy, he is the guy.”
Shanahan went into more detail that even if Garoppolo’s thumb is not completely healed, the veteran would return as the starter against the Rams in Week 18. With the New Orleans Saints beating the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the 49ers control their own destiny. A win in Los Angeles would is the clearest path to the postseason.
“I think it’s going to be hard for Jimmy to be 100 percent which is how most people are this time of year,” Shanahan said. “Trey did a good job. If Jimmy can’t go, we won’t hesitate at all, but if we feel Jimmy can go and play confident, then Jimmy will be out there.”
When asked specifically if Garoppolo needs to be 100 percent to play, Shanahan gave a very succinct answer.
“Nope,” Shanahan said. “No one on our roster needs to be 100 percent.”