49ers QB Trey Lance undergoes 2nd operation on ankle

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance underwent a second operation on his injured right ankle but is still expected to recover by the start of the offseason program.

The Niners said Saturday that Lance needed the additional surgery to remove hardware placed in the ankle in the original operation in September.

The hardware was located near a tendon in Lance’s ankle and was causing irritation. After consulting with doctors, the decision was made to remove the hardware.

The 49ers said Lance will continue his rehab and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of organized team activities in the spring.

Lance broke his ankle on a run in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, cutting short his second season in the NFL.

Lance had taken over the starting job this season after being drafted third overall in 2021. San Francisco traded three first-round picks to move up nine spots to take Lance, making a major investment in him.

Lance spent his rookie season mostly on the bench behind Jimmy Garoppolo as the Niners went all the way to the NFC title game before losing to the Rams.

He has started just four games in two seasons in the NFL.

The Niners (11-4) have thrived even after losing Lance, winning the NFC West behind Garoppolo and rookie Brock Purdy. Garoppolo broke his foot in Week 13 and Purdy has won all three starts in his place.