SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Rookie quarterback Trey Lance’s injured finger is showing signs of healing, and the San Francisco 49ers are hopeful he will be able to return to practice next week.
Lance hurt his finger when he was hit on his right hand by the helmet of Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Max Richardson during an exhibition game Sunday.
Lance was diagnosed with a small chip fracture and is unable to practice this week.
“It’s trending in the right direction,” general manager John Lynch said Wednesday. “Some of the swelling is coming down. Monday is kind of an optimistic look at it. I can promise you this, we’ll do right by Trey and have him in a good place before he’s back out there. We certainly would love to have him available on Monday.”
Lance was only able to observe practice because he is unable to take snaps or perform handoffs in order to protect his finger. He was able to work on the side on his footwork, but the Niners are being careful in hopes that he will be able to return next week.
“Anytime you’ve got a small chip, it could linger,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I hope it doesn’t. I’m hoping he’s back there next Monday. That’s the goal. He seems positive about it. We have to be smart with it, too. Sometimes when it’s a real little thing like that, it’s hard to believe it’s still hurt, but we have to make sure that he doesn’t go out there and have a setback right away on it, too.”
San Francisco traded three first-round picks to take Lance third overall in the draft in April. He is expected to get time in certain packages behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo when the season begins on Sept. 12 at Detroit.
For that to happen in the opener, the Niners would need for Lance to be able to practice next week.
The 49ers made some roster tweaks Wednesday, placing defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and cornerback Davontae Harris (hamstring) on injured reserve. Both players will be eligible to return after missing three weeks.
San Francisco brought back two players cut on Tuesday, signing cornerback Dontae Johnson and offensive lineman Jake Brendel.
The 49ers lost three players to waiver claims, with receiver Nsimba Webster going to Chicago, linebacker Justin Hilliard to the Giants and offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley to Seattle.
Lynch called that a good sign of the depth the Niners had during training camp, but it takes away an option at punt returner. Webster had a shot to take that role had he cleared waivers.
Lynch said Shanahan would address the punt return situation later and Shanahan said he believed the punt returner was on the roster. Starting receiver Brandon Aiyuk could be an option after excelling on returns in college at Arizona State, and Mohamed Sanu also has experience doing it.
NOTES: WR Richie James Jr. (knee) was reverted to injured reserve after getting waived last week. He will undergo surgery on his injured knee. … In addition to WR Travis Benjamin, the Niners signed 12 players to the practice squad: DL Alex Barrett; WR River Cracraft; DL Darrion Daniels; FB Josh Hokit; TE Jordan Matthews; QB Nate Sudfeld; S Jared Mayden; LBB Elijah Sullivan; and OLs Colton McKivitz, Corbin Kaufusi, Senio Kelemete; and Alfredo Gutierrez. Gutierrez doesn’t count against the 16-player limit because he is part of the International Pathway Program. … Lynch said TE Tanner Hudson and CB Dee Virgin have also agreed to join the practice squad but must pass physicals first.
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