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The latest on 49ers QB Brock Purdy’s recovery from elbow surgery

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 1, 2023 at 5:30 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy's recovery from UCL surgery earlier this month is likely to be the primary headline of the offseason, as his health could be a significant indicator on the 49ers plans for their starter.

Speaking at the annual NFL meeting this past week, both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan affirmed their belief in Purdy as the leader in the clubhouse if healthy, but that's the major question that looms over the 49ers offseason.

"It would have been pretty easy if Brock was healthy," Shanahan said. "The way he played last year, he'd be the starter going into it."

How is Purdy's recovery going in it's early stages?

The quarterback joined the Roc and Maunch with Jimmy B show, sharing that his recovery is "going as planned," even if that means his support brace "looks like I have a robotic arm," via Cam Inman of The Mercury News.

Purdy re-affirmed that the initial timeline to throw is three months, but acknowledged that the date is fully contingent on his response to therapy.

"The protocol is you start throwing at three months, but it all depends on how your therapy and your range of motion and everything goes up until that point," Purdy shared. "There are definitely some boxes I have to check off first before I get to that point, but that's the plan as of now."

Purdy's injury isn't as common with NFL players as it is in baseball, which is why his physical therapy is being conducted by Keith Kocher in Gilbert, Arizona.

"I'm with a specialist out here who's done this rehab on the elbow hundreds of thousands of times," Purdy said. "He's a baseball guy and they trust in him and everything is going as planned."

As for the work Purdy does with Kocher, the exercises primarily fixate around range-of-motion and improving the quarterback's arm strength at this point.

"[He] just makes sure all the muscles and everything around my ligament are doing well, that I'm working range of motion, trying to touch my shoulder or back of my head and just different things like that right now," Purdy said. "Then, we start off with putting weighted cuffs around my wrists and lifting up my arms, trying to get my arm strength back."

Purdy acknowledged the several stages to recovery, but was pleased with his current progress.

"Then, as the stitches come out and you can start sweating and doing cardio, all of that blood flow helps your arm heal as well. There's different stages to it, but it's going well."

Although it's still early, Purdy already has lofty aspirations for the season: returning to the NFC Championship and having a different result this time around.

"[The goal is] to get back to the NFC championship and win the Super Bowl. You do have to get past (the injury). But at the same time you have to sort of remember the things that happen, that make you who you are."

"For me, I'm not going to let something like that tear me down or anything. I'm going to learn from it and we're going to get better," Purdy said.

Fans got a first look at Purdy and his brace when a picture circulated online last week.

Purdy detailed the hinged elbow brace, sharing the value behind it during the healing process.

"When you first get in [the brace] after surgery you're in it at 90 degrees. From there you can start opening it up to help with your range of motion," Purdy said "It is just to keep your arm safe when you're out walking around or doing therapy. But, at night, I can take it off and just do some normal motions with just looking at my arm.

"But yeah, out in public, it looks like I have a robotic arm."

The next inflection point for Purdy is at the three-month mark post-surgery, which Shanahan indicated would give a better timeline as to when the quarterback could return at full strength to practice.

Shanahan envisioned Purdy potentially being healthy at Week 1, but shared a six-to-eight month timeline for recovery.

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