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John Lynch: 49ers ‘incredibly encouraged’ after Brock Purdy throwing session

May 31, 2023 at 10:42 AM--

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Brock Purdy started throwing this week, and it sounds like the San Francisco 49ers are pleased with their second-year quarterback's progress. While Purdy isn't doing anything overly taxing, it is the first time he is throwing a football—albeit reportedly a lighter-weighted one.

Purdy underwent surgery on March 10 to repair the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, an injury suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. His recovery is expected to last into late August or early September—barring any setbacks.

"There are certain markers that you hit," general manager John Lynch said Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "He was 12 weeks out, and that meant it was time to throw. He did so and responded really well. He's just had one session thus far, but we're incredibly encouraged by that. And Brock's a worker. If you give him a task, he's going to do everything in his power.

"So these are just timelines and timelines are just that; they're guidelines. But when I say he's 'tracking well,' it's just he's hitting all his markers, and it doesn't surprise us because he's putting in the work."

Purdy is expected to ramp up his workload in the coming months with heavier footballs and longer throws, and there remains optimism that the young quarterback might be available for Week 1 of the 2023 season. There is even optimism that Purdy might be available sometime during training camp, which begins in late July and runs through August.

Lynch added, "And as for best-case scenario, we're just going to kind of take it as it comes. But the hope is he's ready for training camp. The hope is he's ready for the regular season."

The 49ers are in their second week of organized team activities (OTAs). Obviously, Purdy will not partake in the on-field practices with his teammates for several months. The team expected him to begin throwing in early June, and here we are in (very) late May, and Purdy is already doing so, indicating that everything is on schedule.

"Okay, so let's say he's throwing this week," NFL insider Ian Rapoport said this week. "First of all, that would be really good news because that would mean he's basically either on track or like a small bit ahead of schedule. That is all very good. ... So if that is the case, if he's throwing this week and hopefully he has no setbacks, if this continues to be the case, then you are looking at, realistically, he could maybe start Week 1. Or if not Week 1, pretty shortly thereafter."

For now, quarterbacks Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are splitting the practice reps. If Purdy isn't ready by Week 1, one of those two quarterbacks could start for the 49ers. The general manager praised Lance for a "really quality offseason" and added that Darnold has "taken to the coaching and structure we can give to him."

"But what I can tell you is—I mentioned Trey, I mentioned Sam—we feel good about that position holistically," Lynch said. "So we're not going to do anything to put Brock in a situation where he's not fully healed, and that means not just getting back but getting back, getting reps under your belt, the whole deal. So we'll take it as it comes, as we're doing. He's working incredibly hard, and the early returns are really good. Hitting all the timelines."

While Purdy remains the "leader in the clubhouse" for the starting quarterback job, Lynch noted that the job is "open for competition." That means Lance and Darnold will have a fair shot at attempting to climb the depth chart this offseason.

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