*Update: George Kittlehas been placed on the Injured Reserve List as of Saturday Oct. 9th. The tight end will be forced to miss a minimum of three games with his earliest return coming Week 9 when the 49ers host the Cardinals for their second meeting of the season.
Signs began pointing to this moment on Wednesday when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo missed the first of three of the team's practices. Garoppolo spent the week attempting to work his way back from a calf injury suffered in the first drive of San Francisco's Week 4 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
Kyle Shanahan alluded to needing to see the quarterback's readiness and ability to push off of his back-right leg before making any decisions on his availability for Sunday. As Garoppolo was unable to practice in the team's final session of the week on Friday, the head coach officially ruled Garoppolo OUT in the Week 5 divisional match against the Cardinals.
Garoppolo's absence opens the door for rookie Trey Lance to make his first NFL start on Sunday. Lance took over the second half of Week 4 with Garoppolo on the sidelines and managed a commendable outing despite a modified and unanticipated game plan.
In his limited action, Lance has appeared in three games and has completed 52.6 percent of his passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 121.1 and has added 44 yards on the ground on 11 attempts and his own rushing score.
This time around, Lance has received a full week of starting reps and a game plan that will be catered to his skill set.
"With this being his first start, just trying to give him stuff he's comfortable with, stuff we've put him through," Shanahan said on Friday. "You don't want to sit there and make up too much new stuff. It's only a couple days of practicing it and we just want to make sure he's as comfortable as possible."
Meanwhile, tight end George Kittle's status for Sunday is also in question. Kittle has been battling through a lower leg injury since the start of the season and has made an appearance on the team's injury report since Week 3. On Friday, Kittle was spotted jogging and conditioning on the sidelines to open the practice. Since, the tight end has been ruled doubtful as the team will re-evaluate his readiness on Saturday.
"Kittle's not for sure yet, but I mean, that's been the plan all week," Shanahan said. "We weren't sure all week. We weren't sure all last week either. I know it started out that way but it was a little scary on Wednesday and Thursday. We've been down this road before so you don't make a big deal about it. But we're playing a good team. Regardless of whether they're out there or not, we're going to need all hands on deck."
Here's a look at the final injury report ahead of #SFvsAZ:
- TE George Kittle
- CB Byron Murphy (ribs)
- T Justin Murray (back)
- T Kelvin Beachum (ribs)
- RB Eno Benjamin (hamstring)
- RB Chase Edmonds (shoulder)
- CB Antonio Hamilton (ankle)
- TE Maxx Williams (shoulder)
- CB Marco Wilson (ribs)