Trey Lance will likely head to injured reserve soon. On Monday, the quarterback underwent what most assumed to be season-ending surgery to repair the damage suffered when he broke his ankle against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.

On a conference call with reporters this week, head coach Kyle Shanahan sounded pretty confident that Lance would be ready to go for Week 1 of the 2023 season. One expert isn’t so sure the injury is season-ending, though.

Foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Kenneth Jung, a consultant to the Los Angeles Rams, believes Lance could be fully healed within 10 to 12 weeks. Assuming the lengthier estimated recovery time, that might make him available after Week 14. However, the shorter estimate could mean Lance is healthy after Week 12.

“There could be a lot of non-medical factors that are playing a part in shutting him down – protecting their investment in the future,” Jung told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But usually, this injury is about 10 to 12 weeks.”

The 49ers announced that Lance’s surgery to repair a fibula fracture and ligament disruption was successful.

“The ligament damage, Jung said, was probably caused by a dislocation, with bones shifting out of joint,” wrote Branch. “The torn ligaments are likely in the syndesmosis, the complex of ligaments involved in high ankle sprains.

“Jung said Lance’s fibula was probably stabilized with a plate and screws. That hardware will likely remain during Lance’s career, as it involves another operation to remove, and the bone can be weaker without it.”

The good news is that Jung doesn’t expect Lance’s mobility to be limited once he fully recovers from the injury. While a return this season doesn’t sound impossible, it sounds like, at worst, Lance will be full-go next year and ready for the 2023 season.

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