The number of injuries the San Francisco 49ers suffered at the quarterback position last season has complicated the situation going into the offseason, but head coach Kyle Shanahan remains optimistic about Brock Purdy’s recovery, despite offering an unclear timeline on the rookie’s potential return date.
During the league’s annual meeting in Arizona on Tuesday, Shanahan addressed the team’s quarterback situation following injuries to last year’s starter Trey Lance and most recently to Purdy in the NFC Championship game.
“Brock played eight games and won all of them and played at an extremely high level. And we’re very excited to have that level of a player as our quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Now we believe Trey could be that, we would’ve done it last year if he stayed healthy. The good thing for him is, with Brock being hurt, he had the opportunity to try and regain that and everything.”
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Shanahan expressed that Lance was ready to take over as the 49ers starting quarterback last season, but after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2, Jimmy Garoppolo would take over.
Another injury would give way to Purdy’s debut and, as a result, create competition for the 2023 season.
“We’re going to start whoever gives us the best chance to win,” Shanahan said, adding newly signed quarterback Sam Darnold into the mix.
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“Brock’s a guy who’s leading that because we’ve seen him play. But he’s hurt right now and I don’t know if we’ll have him Week 1 and I don’t know if we’ll have him in training camp. I think there’s a possibility on all that. They say in three months, which I think is two months from now, we’ll have a better idea on where it’s gonna go. So I’ll just wait and see where it’s at.”
Purdy suffered a devastating injury to his throwing arm during the Niners’ first possession of their 31-7 loss in the NFC title game to the Philadelphia Eagles. His initial surgery was postponed due to swelling in his elbow.
But earlier this month the 49ers announced that he had undergone a successful surgery on his right elbow to repair a torn UCL.
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“He won’t be able to do anything on the field, for who knows? I think it could go anywhere from six months to eight months. So, it’s all open like that, I think we’ll have a better idea they say at three months out of surgery, they have a better idea of whether it’s going to be six months or eight months,” Shanhan said, adding that how he heals will indicate a more accurate timeline.
“That’s all I know, and I’m pretty good with that. We’ll see in three months if he can be ready for camp, or if not, we’ll possibly say it’s gonna go a little slower. It might be Week 1. I think I’m hearing at the latest, Week 4. But it’s just all estimations, and we’ll see what happens.”