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Lance benefiting greatly by sharing practice reps with Jimmy G

NBC Sports
Trey Lance

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers were determined to save quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s best for the day it matters.

Garoppolo, who on Dec. 23 sustained a Grade 3 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb on his right hand, took a limited share of the practice time on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday that he has made a decision whether Garoppolo or rookie Trey Lance will start Sunday when the 49ers face a possible scenario where they must win to advance to the NFC playoffs.

Shanahan believes he is giving the 49ers a competitive advantage with his decision to not reveal which quarterback would start. Garoppolo is listed as questionable. Twenty-two of the 23 players the 49ers have listed with the "questionable" designation this season have played.

Lance benefited from getting far more than his usual share of first-team practice snaps as the 49ers’ backup quarterback.

“It was good for me, obviously, to still be able to get some reps and at the same time work through it with Jimmy,” Lance said.

“It was unique a little bit with us being able to talk through reps that we both get. I think Kyle did a great job for me, personally, just being able to prepare still this week and still being able to get some reps, not knowing, obviously, what's going to happen with Jimmy on Sunday.”

Lance is expected to return to his backup role after stepping in admirably against the Houston Texans. The 49ers kept alive their playoff hopes with a 23-7 victory in Week 17 at Levi's Stadium.

 

Lance overcame a slow start to thrown for 249 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans. He appeared to make significant strides behind the scenes in the weeks since his first NFL start, which came in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals.

RELATED: Why Jimmy G likely will be Shanahan's choice vs. Rams

Lance is slated to take over as the 49ers' starter next season.

“I just think throughout the season, every single rep that I get, I get better,” Lance said. “I learn so much from every rep, whether it's just practice or a game.

“Being able to have Jimmy out there and being able to be limited, throwing some this week, I think helped me a lot also.”

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