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'It's the worst part of the game'; 49ers rally behind fallen teammate Trey Lance

49ers Post Game: Jimmy Garoppolo
49ers Post Game: Jimmy Garoppolo 04:05

SANTA CLARA -- Professional football can be a brutal game. In the wink of an eye, a season can end and a career can be changed forever.

On Sunday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance experienced the fickle nature of the sport firsthand. In his second start of the season, a season where he was given the reins of the team for the first time, he suffered a badly broken ankle. His season was over in a matter of seconds.

The team said Lance underwent successful surgery on Monday morning at Stanford Hospital to repair a fibula fracture and ligament damage, and that the team physician is confident that he will recover completely in time for a full return in the 2023 season.

In the nature of the business, the 49ers must move on with demoted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. In the wake of the 27-7  win over Seattle, Lance's teammates got a chance to reflect and offer encouragement to their fallen teammate.

"To see him go down early was tough," said wide receiver Brandon Auyik, who spent hours in the offseason working with Lance on developing their timing together. "We know how this is. We tried to rally behind him. Everyone went to go talk to him at halftime. We finished the rest of the game for him, and then we talked to him afterwards, but when you have a guy like that go down early, it is always tough.  

"Most of the guys had the opportunity to come in here and see him, talk to him, and give him some love, and tell him we are all there with him. Everyone knows that is our guy. We love him a lot, we are all still praying for him, and hoping the best for him."

Seahawks 49ers Football
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) is helped onto a cart during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. Tony Avelar / AP

Garoppolo has also suffered a season-ending injury in his career. He knows the hours of work ahead for Lance as he rehabilitates from the injury.

"I saw him for a quick second after (the game)," Jimmy G said. "Just wishing him well. Like I said, I've been there. I've come full circle in this thing and it's just, it's tough whenever you see a guy get hurt, you feel for him. But Trey's a tough dude, he'll be alright."     

Nick Bosa also gave Lance encouragement during the halftime break.

"Yes, I've talked to him a little bit," he said. "It's the worst part of the game, obviously. It happens instantly and there's no going back. Once it happens, you feel like your life is over for a certain amount of time. If he gets surgery, whenever that is, then that starts your road back. It's not going to be easy, but he will be back, and he'll be fine. It's just really tough right now." 

Kyle Juszczyk has also faced injury in his career.

"We all really, truly do feel for Trey so much," he said. "We feel for Trey on so many levels, on a personal level and on a professional level. That's our quarterback, man. We supported him all the way through and we were so excited for the development that he was making and what he was going to do this season for us.

"For him to go down with an injury so quickly, it truly is unfortunate. We feel for the guy and we're going to try and pick him up and help him in every way."  

Juszczyk said he had a quick conversation with Lance,   

"Just to give condolences and to tell him to keep his head up," he said. "We told him that we had his back and that sort of thing. But we haven't had a long discussion yet."  

Deebo Samuel said the injury had left him with a broken heart.

"At first, I really didn't know what happened. I just saw Trey on the ground and I was hoping he would get up," Samuel said. "But I mean, seeing all the work Trey put in from last year to this year, it broke my heart. I will pray for him, you know. He's a great, great guy. That's what makes him so special." 

"When a teammate goes down it's hard at first, but in this game injuries happen," he continued. "So, you have to put it behind you and focus on the game." 

Defensive star Fred Warner said the injury toned down the joy over the victory.

"Just real somber," he said of the mood in the locker room. "You hate to see a guy go down like that. I didn't really know what was going on until I asked around. It just sucks. Those things are just freak accidents that are unfortunate. So I'm feeling bad for Trey." 

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