As the 49ers are set to take on the Detroit Lions to open the 2021 regular season, there are still a few question marks surrounding San Francisco's No. 3 overall pick. Trey Lance is working his way back from a chipped bone in his finger suffered in the preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders that modified his practices last week.
The rookie had been seen taking reps without the football in hand, mimicking throws and hand offs while working his way back to the field. While practicing in a limited capacity on Wednesday during the 49ers first session of the week, Lance was spotted working on throws for the first time since his injury.
Although signs are pointing in a positive direction, head coach Kyle Shanahan plans to use the week to assess the availability of his rookie quarterback.
"We'll see how practice goes today," Shanahan said on Wednesday. "We haven't been able to do anything live yet. He can do it on air, but that'll be decided off of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday."
If Lance is unable to perform against the Lions, it's likely the 49ers will call up Nate Sudfeld from the team's practice squad to back up Jimmy Garoppolo.
Additionally, the 49ers cornerback depth could be tested on Sunday. Emmanuel Moseley was held out of practice while dealing with a knee injury. According to Shanahan, the team is "holding out hope" for Sunday.
If the corner is unable to go, the 49ers could look to some of their younger players to step up in his absence, including rookies Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas. Veteran corner Dontae Johnson is another option who could be called up to the active roster from the team's practice squad ahead of Sunday's contest.
One of the question marks will be how quickly All-Pro, Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman can get up to speed with the 49ers playbook. On Monday, the team signed Norman to a one-year deal to help bolster the unit. Missing the entirety of the offseason program and preseason, the 49ers plan to assess the corner in his first full week of practice in San Francisco.
"I think you've always got a chance with a veteran like Josh who has played in some similar systems, but not at all the same," Shanahan said. "So, it is a huge challenge, but you don't learn everything in one week, but you learn, with a vet like him, what you can do to get by and to not have busts. But also being in football shape is a big deal too. No matter how hard these guys work and come prepared, it takes some time to get in football shape to handle a whole game. He had a good day Monday and we'll check him out the rest of this week."
The 49ers received less positive news on wide receiver Jalen Hurd. Hurd made his preseason debut against the Raiders, however, has been dealing with a lingering knee injury since the game. San Francisco plans to "shut him down for a little bit" by likely placing him on Injured Reserve for the start of season. Per NFL rules, IR candidates are set to miss three weeks before they can return to the active roster. The team will re-evaluate the receiver then.