Trent Williams exited last night’s game against the Broncos in the third quarter and was unable to return. The team believes they are aware of the specifics of his injury, one which could see him miss time.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated, via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon, that Williams likely suffered a high ankle sprain. The injury occurred on the play during which quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo stepped out of the endzone for what turned out to be a game-altering safety. Williams elected not to use a cart to be taken off the field.
The 34-year-old has been relatively healthy during his tenure with the 49ers, which began immediately after he missed the entire 2019 campaign. He has played in 32 regular season contests in the Bay Area, along with all three of the team’s playoff games last year. 2020 saw him continue his elite play, and led to him signing a six-year, $138M deal the following offseason to stay with the 49ers and become the league’s highest-paid offensive lineman of all time. His performance last season did nothing to suggest the team would come to regret that investment.
In the first two-plus games of this season, the nine-time Pro Bowler has been viewed relatively well by PFF, though his grades fall well short of those he received during the previous two years in particular. Any extended absence would deal a significant blow to San Francisco’s offensive front, one which lost starters Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack during the offseason. The move of 2021 second-rounder Aaron Banks to LG opened up a spot for rookie Spencer Burford to start at the opposite guard spot, while Jake Brendel ascended to the first-team center role to complete the team’s interior o-line transformation.
Filling in for Williams to finish the contest was Jaylon Moore. A fifth-round pick last year, the Western Michigan alum started three of his seven appearances as a rookie, but last night marked his first usage on offense in 2022. He could be in line for a starter’s workload for some time, pending the duration of Williams’ absence.