Is 49ers QB Brock Purdy rushing back?

Following day two of organized team activities San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told the assembled media that Brock Purdy could be back for the opening game of the season.

“We’re hoping for Week One and I feel pretty optimistic about that,” said Shanahan. “That’s what we’re hoping for, that he’ll be ready to play in Week One and usually that doesn’t mean that’s the day he comes back. Usually, you have to come before that to make that goal and that’s kind of the goal we’re hoping for, and I don’t have any reason to think differently.”

This was the most optimistic response Shanahan has given regarding Purdy’s return from the torn ulnar collateral ligament suffered in the NFC championship game. The response also points toward Purdy making his return during training camp.

According to Shanahan, Purdy has been doing everything except throwing a football in recent weeks.

The quarterback met with Bay Area media for the first time since the surgery and noted he’s rebuilding strength in his right arm.

“The last month or so it’s been regaining your strength,” said Purdy. “I’m lifting and doing everything normal now, so it’s feeling good.”

With the positive news about Purdy’s return, some have questioned if he is rushing himself back or if the 49ers are pushing him to return early. This line of thinking is based on the belief that holding Purdy out for a longer period could benefit his career in the long run.

It’s a question that has been bounced around throughout the offseason.

The answer is no.

Injuries to the UCL are not common in football, especially with quarterbacks which makes the timetable to return a guess.

Recovery from full Tommy John procedure is expected to take around a year. Jake Delhomme underwent the procedure in 2007 and was cleared after just seven months.

The internal brace procedure Purdy underwent carries a six month return to play timeframe. Former 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens underwent the procedure following an injury late in the 2020 season and was cleared to return after just five months.

Professional athletes have an amazing ability to return sooner than expected. For example, Joe Montana suffered a career threatening back injury during the 1986 season opener in Tampa Bay. Montana underwent back surgery and was back on the field just 56 days later, tossing three touchdowns against the Cardinals in his return.

Unlike when a player returns from other injuries such as an ACL, Purdy will begin the ramp up period with the throwing regimen. Once the doctors give him clearance, he will be full go.

If Purdy is cleared and feels healthy, he should be back on the field.

On Tuesday, Purdy outlined the plan moving forward.

“Yeah, we go to finish out everything through OTA here,” said Purdy. “See how I feel, but I think the plan would be to go back down to Jacksonville with my quarterback guys I trained with before the draft, Tom Gormely and Will Hewlett, as I start to throw more and I want to just make sure my mechanics and everything are right. So go down, work with them for a couple of weeks, and then get back here.”

This article has 37 Comments

  1. I believe that Purdy will make a full recovery by the middle of preseason and possibly be ready by the start of the season. But, if he does not play in preseason, he likely won’t start in the regular season until the 2-3 game. Not sure it’s a good idea to bring him in for the Steelers game.

    Obviously, a QB’s biggest asset is his throwing arm, and what gives me reason to be positive is the fact that Purdy came back on the field in the second half of the NFC Championship game.
    Though he didn’t throw, apparently the pain in his arm was not unbearable enough to keep him on the sidelines. Also add that Brock is a courageous young man.

    Purdy also has youth on his side unlike Mullens and Delhomme who may have been slightly older when they had their procedure.

    Starting around the 2-3 game could be a wise decision by Shanahan.

    1. AES,
      Lets say Lance starts the first 3 games, plays well and the team wins all 3. Do you pull him and replace him with Purdy?

      1. I have given that some thought, Coach.
        I have two theories.
        1. If Lance wins to the point that he leaves no doubt that he has turned the corner with great play,
        he should remain the Starter.

        2. If Lance struggles and the 49ers win only because the defense or special teams bail him out, then it’s time to Start a healthy Purdy.
        In short, Lance has to light it up to keep the job after 3 games.

        1. The process and evaluation you outline above seem so unfair to Lance. Let’s give the guy a reasonable chance, especially after giving up 3 first round picks and a third for him.

        2. AES
          I would disagree with you. IMHO, if Lance shows his accuracy has improved, he can move the chains
          against the Steelers and the 9ers win by 10 or more points. Then Lance starts the second game against the Rams.
          If Lance struggles, even though the 9ers beat the Steelers, then KS will start Purdy. If Purdy is still not ready to start, then I thank we’ll see Darnold. How Darnold plays will determine both Lance and Darnold’s fate with the 9ers. (Who the backup QB is).
          * If Darnold starts the second game, it will also mean Darnold has looked better in practice than Lance.
          * I expect Purdy will be ready to start against the Steelers or Rams and play well, ending all speculation of who the starter is.

  2. Gary/GEEP,
    I hear you. My theory is far from being fair, I was just answering Coach on whether Lance should remain the starter after three wins.
    But as I said, Lance needs to light it up in order to retain the starter job. We know what we have in Purdy, that’s not the case with Lance. Trey is still by all measure an unknown product – perhaps an unfair assessment, but true.

    Lance will be under pressure to not only play well, but to exceed Purdy’s level of play if he is to be a full-time starter. This is no knock on Trey, because I’d love to see him tore-it-up this season. But at this point (actually after 3 yrs) we don’t know what a healthy Lance is capable of.

    1. AES,
      WE thought we knew what we had in Jimmy G after 5 games and we were wrong. I don’t think we know what we have in Purdy after 7 games. We have to give the DCs around the league a little more time to adjust to BP. Personally i’m not totally sold on BPs arm strength. DCs will load the box and jam the WRs trying to take away the short timing routes he excels at and force him to throw over the top, then we will see exactly how good he is. imho

      1. We only know what we know, Coach. Purdy did a great job in those 7 games.
        That’s our measuring ruler right now. The Dcords job is to explore any weaknesses in Brock’s game. We’ll have to see how that pans out.

      2. D.C.’ s (especially in the NFC west) will examine every inch of tape to determine exactly how to attack
        Brock and what he likes to do. The acid test is how he responds. We will know very quickly weather his
        success was lighting in a bottle, or good eyes, good footwork and a soft catchable on time ball.
        If Lance starts lets hope his runs are mostly scrambles, not designed runs (that everyone sees coming
        a mile away).

  3. If Lance looks good during camp and the preseason games, then continues playing at least at a B level while the team continues to win he will be the long term starter. I wonder what KS will do if Purdy starts game one and by game 4 has the team at 2-2 while playing okay but not outstanding. Will KS continue to start Purdy?

    1. Coach,
      You make an interesting point here.
      What is your interpretation of a B level?

      1. B level, 60% or better completion rate.5 ints a game Avg. Using his legs to move the chains 250 yards per game passing

        1. I see. Those numbers would give Lance a good chance at starting on most teams. Beating out Purdy might be a different story though.

          On the other hand, Lance may find some early success if he starts the season, because Dcords could be schemeing for Purdy.

  4. Purdy’s injury is fully healed . He is now full go to regain the strength in his arm. There is no reason to not expect him to be the starter when the season starts.

    1. If, in fact, Brock is completely healed. I would agree with that.

      And yes, that would put the Trey/Sammy D questions to rest.
      But, yet TBD.

      1. Take a step back from what? Its healed. Based on what we know, there is NO reason to suspect he won’t be ready. Yes, tomorrow the sky could fall but it makes no sense to predict that.

        1. Felix,
          I meant a step back from the level of play he exhibited last year not in his arm health. For example his completion percentage drops his Int. to TD ratio goes up.

        2. Felix
          What OldCoach ask, is the same question I’ll ask you…That is…
          * What if Purdy starts game 1 and by game 4 the team is 2W – 2 L while playing ok but not outstanding. And Lance, or Darnold looked better in pre season and during practice? Will KS continue to start Purdy? Since no one knows how the other NFL DC’s will adjust to BP, that will be the question KS will have to answer.
          If Purdy is healthy, he’ll start game 1! After that, IMO, KS will start the QB that he believes will give him the best chance to win.
          No one believed BP would be the 9ers 2023 starter on 05/25/2022. That why they call it a Meritocracy.

          1. I would expect that the best quarterback will start. So far that’s been Purdy and logic would imply that will continue. I believe in order to beat Purdy someone would actually have to perform better, not equal. Based on the facts before us, I don’t see any other scenario playing out.

            1. Felix says: “So far that’s been Purdy and logic would imply that will continue.”
              No felix, that’s illogical abd inductive reasoning! Performance in games and practice will dictate who starts!
              A) No one knows, including you, how sound BP’s arm will be. We all HOPE it is as good, or better than before surgery, but that is logical and TBD.
              B) No one knows, including you, what NFL DC’s will throw at BP, or how he will respond. Again, we all HOPE he will respond as well as he did before surgery, but that too is logical and TBD.
              C) What I would EXPECT is nothing remains the same….I hope it will, but LOGIC implies it will not……That’s why they play the game!
              FYI: There are 4 main types of logic
              1) Informal logic: Uses deductive and inductive reasoning to make arguments.
              2) Formal logic: Uses syllogisms to make inferences.
              3) Symbolic logic: Uses symbols to accurately map out valid and invalid arguments.
              4) Mathematical logic Uses mathematical symbols to prove theoretical arguments.

              1. Complete nonsense. No one knows, including you, yet you think it’s logical that there will be different results. Kind of the definition of insanity. Logic is the combination of intellect and experience.

  5. My wishes are both TL and BP both look great with Darnold at least looking ok, like he could be a decent NFL backup. That would put the 49ers in position to make one of those blockbuster trades that can set a team up for 3 to 5 years. If they are both playing great I wouldn’t care which one got traded. It would come down to whichever QB they could get the most for.

  6. I read many 49er blogs and watch innumerable 49ers youtube posts and I have not heard a single mention of Robert Beal’s performance at the recent OTAs. Has anyone here heard or read anything regarding Beal? Jack did you notice Beal at all this week?

    1. Kreuger said Beal does not look strong/big enough to win a spot on the regular roster. He said it in passing yesterday.

  7. Jack,
    Also is there any reason Beal is wearing #33 other than its just a camp number?

    1. Coach.
      At this point in the OTA’s, numbers hold no real significant value as many rookies or FA’s that make the team are typically given a new number. I believe that #33 was Beals college number.

    2. OC,

      Beal wore 33 at Georgia. We didn’t see much defense against offense with the lines involved and Beal didn’t do anything on Tuesday to stand out.

  8. Jack,
    Do you have any news regarding UDFA WR, Isaiah Winstead? I don’t believe that I’ve heard anything about him of late. Not sure if that’s because he may be hurt, or if he’s shown anything in Mini Camp and OTA’s.

    One Bay Area sports writer has pegged him as the possible replacement for Jauan Jennings next year (when JJ becomes a free agent). One YouTuber has called Winstead “Megatron.”
    Somewhat high praise for a player that has yet to be mentioned by the Bay Area sports media over the last few weeks.
    Thanks Jack, for any information on him.

    1. AES,
      From everything i’m hearing it sounds like Ronnie Bell will be Jennings replacement if they can stash him on the P.S.

      1. Thanks, Coach.
        Bell has been making his mark since mini camp. At this rate he should have a good chance at making the team. One word that seems to be mentioned re Bell is fearless. That’s a huge quality in football.

        I’m still a little interested in any news on Winstead. Hopefully, Jack can help.

  9. Kill 2 birds with one stone. Start Trey so he has a real chance to showcase his talents, and Brock can continue
    to gain strength. If he tanks move on to Brock

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