SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance showed signs of progress in returning from a finger injury but there are still questions about whether he will be able to play in the season opener.
Lance no longer needed a splint on the index finger on his throwing hand after suffering a small chip fracture in the exhibition finale on Aug. 29. But during the open portion of practice for reporters Monday, Lance didn’t make any throws.
He held a ball during an early drill but practice squad quarterback Nate Sudfeld took warmup throws behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Lance didn’t take snaps from center and only went through the motions on his footwork in the backfield before making fake throws.
The Niners held only a brief practice on Monday and will hold their first full session in preparation for Sunday’s game at Detroit on Wednesday. Coach Kyle Shanahan and Lance were unavailable after practice so there was no immediate word on whether Lance will be able to do more on Wednesday.
The 49ers traded three first-round picks to move up to No. 3 in the draft and take Lance. While Garoppolo remains the starter, Shanahan had been planning to use Lance in a limited package of plays to take advantage of his running ability and get him up to speed to playing in the NFL.
How long that process takes will depend in part on how quickly Lance can resume throwing.
The Niners also signed cornerback Josh Norman to a one-year deal and released cornerback Dontae Johnson.
The 33-year-old Norman was an All-Pro in 2015 with Carolina but has struggled to reach that form again since leaving the Panthers following that season to sign with Washington.
He struggled in coverage in both 2018 and ’19 but fared a little better last season in a part-time role in Buffalo. He has 83 passes defensed, 15 interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns, in 120 games.
He provides depth behind starters Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley that could be needed quickly with Moseley not able to take part in practice because of an apparent hamstring injury. The other outside cornerbacks on the roster are rookies Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir.
NOTES: WR Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) returned to practice. … Moseley, WR Jalen Hurd and DL Kevin Givens were working on the side.
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