How delay of surgery for Brock Purdy impacts 49ers

Brock Purdy will not undergo surgery on his right elbow as planned. Purdy tore the UCL in his throwing elbow on the 49ers first possession of the NFC championship game against Philadelphia on January 29.

According to Tom Peliserro of NFL Network, Purdy met with Texas Rangers team physician Keith Meister on Tuesday as scheduled. Meister recommended postponing the surgery due to continued inflammation.

The parties will get back together in early March, with all signs pointing to the insertion of an internal brace to repair the UCL. This procedure has a six-month recovery period; however Purdy should be able to begin throwing around the three-month mark. Once fully cleared, Purdy would be able to return without a ramp up period.

Unlike their baseball counterparts, UCL injuries are uncommon for football players. Two prominent cases for NFL quarterbacks are Jake Delhomme and Nick Mullens.

In October of 2007, Delhomme underwent Tommy John surgery. The typical recovery time for this type of procedure is 12-18 months. Delhomme was cleared just seven months later and helped Carolina to a 12-4 regular season record in 2008. 

San Francisco fans should be familiar with Mullens. The former 49ers quarterback suffered a UCL injury on December 20, 2020, against the Dallas Cowboys. Mullens was cleared just five months after having the internal brace procedure Purdy is expected to undergo.

Even with the most positive outcome possible Purdy will be unable to join the team until sometime around the middle of August. A more realistic outcome points to Purdy returning after training camp concludes.

The delay of Purdy’s surgery puts the 49ers in a bind at the most important position.

Trey Lance is the only other quarterback on the San Francisco roster but has injury issues of his own.

Lance suffered a broken ankle on the 49ers second offensive possession in a week two win over Seattle requiring surgery in September. The former first round draft pick underwent a second surgery on December 31 to remove hardware from the September procedure which had caused irritation during rehab.

Lance told the Rich Eisen Podcast during Super Bowl week he expects to be begin taking drops and throwing this week. He expects to be fully cleared when OTA’s begin on April 17.

The 49ers now must add at least two quarterbacks to get them through the offseason and training camp. San Francisco usually carries at least three during this portion of the year.

Look for San Francisco to add a veteran quarterback during free agency along with another through the draft in.  

This article has 35 Comments

  1. I posted on Jack’s previous article basically the same as he did on this one. I said the FA QB now needs to be a more serious candidate. Maybe costing the team 4 mill guaranteed with incentive bonuses equal to those given to Jimmy G. I wouldn’t count on Purdy until the seasons half way point. I also see a NFL rule change to the old rule that allowed teams to suit 3 QBs every game. The 3rd QB is an emergency QB and can only be used if the first two get injured. That would give them room to move the drafted QB to the PS when Purdy recovers.

  2. The Niners need to go get Matt Ryan when he is released by Indy to be the backup to Lance, Purdy, and whomever they bring in via the draft or UFA.

    1. Ryan is done, he should think about retirement. He would also want a significant chunk of money that he is unlikely worth.

  3. Good update, Jack. Oh my though. It leaves me with a big lump in my throat. So much uncertainty. I mainly worry Brock may have lost something on his passes with his injury. We shall see. Lance is still a question mark.

  4. Jack,
    Thanks for the breakdown regarding Purdy’s situation.
    Unless Purdy makes a borderline miraculous recovery by early August it would be safe to assume that Lance is the Starter going forth.

    Two possible veteran QBs that could be good fits are (imo) Cooper Rush, Cowboys and Jerrett Stidham. Raiders.
    Both have the ability to pass and scramble out of pocket when the need arises.

    Stidham looked good against the 49ers in place of Carr, and Rush played well when Dak Prescott went down with an injury.
    Stidham and Rush show enough athleticism to work in the Shanahan scheme and they won’t break the bank.

    1. AES,
      Rush yes big time yes. Stidham no, He has 2 starts and 1 good game in his entire career. He had a passer rating of 108 versus the 9ers he followed that up with a passer rating of 76 the next week versus KC. Iv’e heard Trubisky either is or will be available. I think he might be very good under KS. The first step to the off season, before free agency and the draft is which contracts the 49ers choose to renegotiate. That will tell us how active they are going to be in the off season. I have read that there are about 5 or 6 contracts they can redo that could put them between 45 to 60 mill under the cap. Once they have redone those contracts we will know the kind of FAs or trades they intend on making.

  5. Actually, this works out very well for the 49ers. We all know that the team can win with Purdy. We don’t know if it can with Lance. Many NFL insiders (and Shanahan) will tell you that, while Purdy performed well, he “left a lot of throws on the field,” meaning he either failed to recognize receivers schemed open in time or lacked the confidence to make the throw. You could probably say that for most NFL quarterbacks , and certainly for rookies, of course. Purdy certainly showed he has the moxie and cool to successfully coordinate the 49ers many talented offensive options. But there is a reason Shanahan drafted Lance and with Purdy missing the OTAs and possibly training camp, Lance can get a good trial without the burden of a divisive quarterback controversy. If he does well, and when Purdy joins the mix, there will be a QB controversy and so what? The 49ers thrived with Montana and Young and even the most casual fan of the NFL must recognize the injury attrition rate.

    1. Yes, in the best of both worlds we have 2 starter quarterbacks on the roster. However, those predicting that Lance will be the starter this year, a word of caution. Purdy will likely be back before the start of the season and we already know what he can do. Lance on the other hand has a huge opportunity thru OTAs, training camp and preseason to prove he should be the starter but based on what we’ve seen so far, he has a long way to go.

      1. Felix,
        The fact that Lance was injured in his second game as a starter wiping out his season cannot give anyone a definitive evaluation of his play and potential. Lance will have to prove himself in TC. But my sense is that Shanahan wants to see Lance win the starting job.

        As much as I like Purdy, I was always weary of him because of his small stature. I’ve seen QBs being hit in the same way Brock was and not suffer a major injury.

        If Purdy can recover fast enough to be ready by September, it won’t satisfy my concern of him getting hurt again because of his size. I have a sense that Shanahan and the FO might share the same concerns.

        1. I think you have it backwards. Lynch has commented favorably on Purdy’s ability to stay healthy. I’ve watched the hit on his arm and I doubt anyone could have come out of that unhurt. At the press conference Lynch specifically pointed out that Lance needs to prove he can stay healthy.
          I realize that Lance hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself and hopefully he will this off season. However based on what each has shown so far, Purdy is easily the better QB. Kyle may hope Lance wins the starting job but that has nothing to do with who does win it. Kyle with go with the one who gives them the best chance to win. The team is clearly behind Purdy. Lance has a lot of catching up to do.

          1. Again, my main concern with Purdy is his size. His performance isn’t an issue with me, his ability to make it through an entire season plus post season is.

            If the most injury prone QB in recent memory, Jimmy Garoppolo can come back from injury and help the 49ers make a SB appearance, I believe Lance can do the same.

            Your comment,
            “but based on what we’ve seen so far, he has a long way to go.”
            led to my response.

            Can you please give more detail on “what we’ve seen so far” comment?

            1. My main concern with Purdy is that about 80% of his completions come between the hash marks. I don’t think he has the arm strength to throw medium to deep throws outside the hash marks. It will be very interesting to see how D coordinators adjust to Purdy with a full off season to watch his tapes. I think they will load the box to take away the short to medium shots in the middle of the field. That will also make it tough for the running game. I also am concerned that this surgery could take a couple MPHs of an already questionable arm.

              1. Coach,
                Good observation. But your comment opens up another pending subject.
                Purdy needs an efficient running game to compensate for his below average arm strength.

                If McG walks the running game could suffer thereby causing Purdy to pass more than he did this past season.

                This is obviously subjective, but if Purdy has to do more passing because of an average running game, he will likely take more hits.

                This is why I have some pause regarding his ability to play a full season.

  6. Not sure what everyone is so worried about. I’m sure Josh Johnson is available. He proved in the NFCCG he is up to the task…

  7. Opposed the 49ers going after Brady with the way Purdy was performing. But with Brock’s injury and the possibility he won’t be ready for the season ahead, why doesn’t Lynch just try and sign Brady to a one-year deal? Brady may not be what he once was. But he still could be the guy that gets Shanahan and the Yorks over the hump and onto a Super Bowl championship at last. Besides, with Mahomes now eyeing Brady’s 7 SB wins, Brady might need another to be sure he stays on top permanently in the SB competition.

    1. Joining the Niners makes no sense for Brady. Both Lance and Purdy, who are young and mobile QBs, took a beating under Shanahan this season. An older stationary QB like Brady wouldn’t last one game. Maybe he could come to the team for the playoffs after the first four starters have been injured.

    2. Not only will Brady require a big payday, but he will no doubt add a larger sum of money for bringing him out of retirement.

      Brady would basically have to sign a bargain basement contract to even be considered for my liking.

      1. AES,
        Even then I would be against them signing Brady. He took a step back last year and at his age its only logical that he would take another step back next year. I am all for signing a vet QB and drafting a QB but the Vet we sign better not be eligible for AARP.

        1. ” but the Vet we sign better not be eligible for AARP.”

          That’s awesome Coach! As a AARP member I can relate, lol.
          But my only question would be this; is Brady better than our current QBs? Even if he’s taken a step back, he may still give the 49ers the best chance at a SB run.

          Brady’s arm is stronger than Purdy’s and his football intelligence far surpasses that of Lance and Purdy combined.
          Brady doesn’t take as many hits because of quick trigger passing release as well.

          I personally believe that TB can produce on Sunday’s and still pick up his AARP savings on Monday.
          My only question is, at what price would he and the 49ers work with?
          I would change my initial Brady “bargain basement” contract wording to a “charitable” contract on TBs part.

  8. NBC Sports’ Mike Florio speculated that Brady might come out of retirement and play for the 49ers next season, even after the quarterback stated in his video announcement that he was calling it a career “for good.”

    “We’ve learned that Brady: (1) doesn’t always say publicly what he truly believes; and (2) sometimes says things he means, and eventually does something different,” Florio wrote Thursday.

    Looks like Florio is at it again. This dude will contrive a story in an effort to stay relevant. His latest remarks regarding Brady are just as opinionated as mine.

    1. Does anyone think that the egos of Brady and Shanahan could coexist on the same team? Shanahan seems to want to be the guy, and his ass would have to take a back seat to Brady. I think this is all media/fan driven fantasy that doesn’t actually pay any attention to the reality of these two people.

      1. Do you believe that Brady has lost his ability to play?

        This is only my opinion and hypothetical thought. But since Brady had a good statistical year (sans a post season run), I believe that he can still play at a higher level than our current QBs. If Shanahan wants to give himself a better chance at a SB run, he will swallow his pride.

        Of course, I’m just throwing out a hypothetical here. But hey, it’s the off season and I’m sure many more posters will come up with some of their own as well.

        1. Jessie Naylor has stated that he feels Brady was starting to play scared last season. That Brady played like he was afraid of getting hit in the legs and wasn’t stepping into his throws which resulted in a ton of throws into the ground. I don’t watch much of Tampa, but Jessie lives down there and sees all their games. If this is really true, then it is time for Brady to stay retired. We have already seen that kind of foot work from Jimmy.

          Add that to the fact that I just can’t see Shanahan taking a back seat to Brady and this should be a dead topic.

          1. 2022 stats.
            Tom Brady had a passer rating of 90.7 with 4,694 yards, 25 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 17 games in 2022.

            I’ll take that all day every day. Also, when is the last time we had a QB (aside from JG, 2019) play in 17 games?
            If Brady is willing to only take 10-12M in 2023, Paraag and the FO need to sign him.

            If you get a chance check out the Kreug Show on YouTube regarding a 49ers/Tom Brady scenario. Interesting comments.

    2. Mike Florio is truly one of the most despicable human beings in the sports world. His entire business model is to copy and paste articles from real journalists, make some wild speculation on their stories, and rarely give them credit. He makes things up out of whole cloth because he needs content without any real work toward validating his speculation has any truth to it. Mike Florio’s entire model is build on deception and a lack of integrity. I truly can not stand the guy.

  9. When are we going to move on from discussing Brady? He is retired and we have 2 young QBs we what to develop for the future. Stop beating this horse. He’s already dead.

    1. “When are we going to move on from discussing Brady?”

      Probably when he actually proves that he can stay retired. 🤔

  10. Concern about Brock Purdy’s size….though I’m not drawing a direct correlation between the two, Drew Brees wasn’t 6’4” when he played..probably isn’t now…as far as arm strength? It’s important, but more important, to me at least, is what the guy has between his ears..and in his heart….and by heart, I mean putting the teams interests ahead of himself….JaMarcus Russell had a massive throwing arm..he also had massive dead air space between his ears and in his heart…

    1. 55,
      Those are the two extremes. I absolutely agree with your DM remark, but Brees was a special talent. If Purdy can play at 80% of Brees’s level and stay healthy he could have a lengthy and successful career.
      I hope that he can.

  11. Matt Barrows wrote a very interesting column today about a cognitive test given to athletes that measures how quickly and accurately the athlete processes information. The test is called C2. Athletes in all sports have been taking this test prior to drafting and have been for a number of years. While not divulging specific scores the investigators of this test say that the score accurately predicts a quarterbacks rating. He stated that Purdy’s score was elite and that he compared favorably to some current QBs such as Mahomes, Josh Allen and Burrows. Most older QBs haven’t taken the test except Brees and Purdy compared favorably with him as well. Very encouraging information.

  12. It’s tough news for Brock Purdy and the 49ers that his surgery has been postponed due to continued inflammation. However, the internal brace procedure he is expected to undergo has shown positive results for other NFL quarterbacks like Nick Mullens. Still, even with the most positive outcome, Purdy’s return won’t be until around the middle of August, which puts the 49ers in a difficult situation. With Trey Lance’s injury issues, the team will need to add at least two quarterbacks to get through the offseason and training camp. It will be interesting to see who the team adds through free agency and the draft.

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