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.