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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers will have better idea of Brock Purdy recovery timeline in June

Mar 28, 2023 at 9:19 AM

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It could be six months. It could be eight months. The San Francisco 49ers don't have a clear picture right now regarding quarterback Brock Purdy's recovery timeline. They will have a better idea in June, though. That's when the second-year quarterback will begin throwing again and ramping up his workload for the remaining portion of his rehabilitation.

Purdy underwent surgery to repair the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, an injury suffered on January 29 in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"He won't be able to do anything on the field for—who knows?" head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Tuesday morning from the NFL owners' meetings in Arizona. "I think it can go anywhere from six months to eight months, so it's all open like that. I think we'll have a better idea ... they say at three months out of surgery, they have a better idea whether it's going to be six months or eight months. So I don't know.

"It's how it heals, and I'm sure I'll get lots of questions from Eric (Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle) on that. But that's all I know, and I'm pretty good with that, so we'll see in three months if he could be ready for camp, or if not, we'll pause and say, 'Hey, it's going to go a little slower.'

"It might be Week 1. I think I'm hearing, at the latest, Week 4. But that's just all estimations, and we'll see what happens."

Shanahan also backed John Lynch's comments from a day earlier, when the general manager called Purdy the "leader in the clubhouse" regarding who sits atop the quarterback depth chart.

It would be Purdy as QB1, with Trey Lance and Sam Darnold fighting for the backup role.

"I think it would have been pretty easy if Brock was healthy because of the way Brock played last year," Shanahan said. "He'd be the starter going into it. Trey had that position going into the year. We were real excited about that, and we think he would have had a hell of a year."

Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury during September's Week 2 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. He is expected to be full-go when the 49ers begin their offseason program but remains inexperienced, having started just four NFL games in two seasons.

"We only got one-and-a-half games or one-and-a-quarter, and then he went out, opened up an opportunity for Jimmy [Garoppolo]," Shanahan continued. "Jimmy got hurt and opened it up for Brock, and Brock played eight games and won all of them and played at an extremely high level.

"And we're very excited to have that level of a player as our quarterback. Now, we believe Trey can be that. I think he would have done it last year if he stayed healthy. The good thing for him is, with Brock being hurt and stuff, he has an opportunity to try to regain that and everything.

"And that's also why we brought in Sam because we can't be set for sure on Brock because you never know how the injury will go. We think it will go well, and we're optimistic about it, but right now, that's on hold. So it opens up an opportunity for Trey and for Sam to come in and show us what they have."

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