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What to expect when 49ers QB Brock Purdy begins throwing in June

May 23, 2023 at 9:14 AM

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is on the road to recovery. He underwent surgery on March 10 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear in his right elbow, an injury suffered in the NFC Championship Game.

Purdy could return for the start of the 2023 regular season. Although, that is far from a certainty. 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan remain hopeful that their second-year quarterback might even return some time during training camp, which kicks off in late July and runs through August.

The expected full recovery time is about six months, which would put Purdy's return date sometime in early September. Although, it can vary from procedure to procedure, depending on the severity of the injury (Purdy's resulted from a blow to the arm) and other factors.

Lynch and Shanahan will know more when Purdy begins throwing again in early June. That's when the 49ers will better understand how the quarterback's recovery is progressing. If everything goes as expected, athletes can begin throwing again in 10 to 12 weeks.

Twelve weeks removed from March 10 would be about June 2. That's around when the 49ers expect Purdy to really start testing his arm, per Lynch. Then, if all goes as hoped, the quarterback can increase his workload as he tries to get back to pre-injury form.

"It begins with throwing a half-weighted football and builds to throwing a prescribed number of balls at fixed effort and distance," Nick Wagoner and Stephania Bell wrote in a feature for ESPN. "The final portion of the rehab is mimicking a game week by throwing roughly the same number of passes an NFL quarterback would during the regular season."

Purdy has been with his teammates since April 17, when the 49ers started their offseason program. Organized team activities (OTAs) started this week. Obviously, Purdy won't be on the practice field. Instead, those reps will be split by third-year quarterback Trey Lance and offseason acquisition Sam Darnold, who are preparing themselves to start, should Purdy not be ready for Week 1.

Purdy is working, though, and Shanahan is optimistic about what he has seen.

"And just watching him now, he's doing the same drills all the other quarterbacks are doing," Shanahan said on May 10. "He's just using a towel to throw, but still doing violent motion, still moving it. He's just not doing [it] with the football. He'll get closer to that, and as long as there's not a setback, we think he'll be there in training camp."

The 49ers aren't going to push Purdy. Instead, they want to ensure no setbacks in his recovery. Lynch and Shanahan declared Purdy the "leader in the clubhouse" for the starting quarterback job and want to make sure the 23-year-old is given every opportunity to return the right way.

"We're going to do what's right for Brock because that's right for our organization," Lynch said in March. "You know, be aggressive with what we do but also be really smart."
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