Just when the 49ers appear set to welcome back their starting quarterback, another key player has gone down with an injury.
Left tackle Trent Williams (elbow/ankle) did not participate in San Francisco's practice for a third straight day and draws a doubtful designation, while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) had no designation and rookie signal-caller Trey Lance (knee) is out, as expected. Garoppolo will start when the 49ers host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.
Williams has been a rock for the 49ers, protecting the blind side of Garoppolo and Lance. If offensive line injuries matter more because of the quarterback they're protecting, perhaps none is more important than the men tasked with blocking for Garoppolo, the often-injured signal-caller whose inability to stay on the field prompted San Francisco to draft a legitimate talent and eventual successor.
Williams is the 49ers' best player responsible for protecting Garoppolo. Last season, he was the best tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. His absence would make the return of Garoppolo a more nervous event than if Williams was able to play.
Garoppolo will return after missing Week 5 against the Cardinals. Lance started in Garoppolo's place in the loss to Arizona, but won't be available Sunday.
The 49ers' fanbase will keep its collective fingers crossed that rookie Jaylon Moore can prove to a be a serviceable replacement if Williams can't go.