It's now been just over one month since Brock Purdy underwent surgery to repair his injured elbow, and although things seem to be going well so far for the 49ers quarterback, it's still too early to say when he might be able to return to the field.
For the 49ers, the worst-case scenario would be that Purdy is forced to miss the entire 2023 season and although that seems unlikely at this point, the 23-year-old did admit that it was at least a possibility. During a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Purdy was asked if he would be able to play during the upcoming season and he confessed that he was "not really sure, honestly."
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that Purdy will miss any time at all, it just likely means that he's not ready to say when he might be able to return to the field. The quarterback just underwent surgery on March 10, so it's barely been a month since his operation. The good news for the 49ers here is that everything has gone "as planned" so far through the first month of rehab.
"It's going well," Purdy. "Just taking it one day at a time. Just trying to heal up and feel a little bit better every single day, and it's all gone as planned. Obviously we're in great communication with the doctors that I'm working with, the Niners, the organization as a whole, everyone's on the same page and we're excited for how it's going. So just taking it one day at a time."
During his surgery, doctors had to repair the UCL in Purdy's throwing arm, an injury that happened in San Francisco's NFC title game loss to the Eagles. In the weeks after the operation, Purdy had to wear a bulky brace that made him look like a Terminator.
"When you first get in it after surgery, you're in it at 90 degrees. From there, you can start opening it up to help with your range of motion," Purdy. "It is just to keep your arm safe when you're out walking around or doing therapy. But at night, I can take it off and just do some normal motions with just looking at my arm."
According to Yahoo, the brace has now been taken off and Purdy is currently rehabbing without it. Purdy definitely seems optimistic about his recovery, but he also seems to realize there's a long road ahead and the 49ers also seem to realize that. At the NFL's annual league meeting last month, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan both admitted there was no clear return date for Purdy.
Lynch said he was hopeful that Purdy would be ready to go by training camp, but he also said the team would have a plan in place in case he's not ready.
"We'll see how everything goes. We're going to do what's right for Brock, because that's right for our organization," Lynch said, via the San Jose Mercury News. "You know, be aggressive with what we do but also be really smart. We're insulated with other guys we have a lot of belief in, so if Brock's not ready, we'll hold down the fort until he is."
If Purdy isn't ready for training camp -- or the regular season -- the quarterbacks who will be holding down fort are Trey Lance and Sam Darnold. Lance is that caused him to while Darnold and he's insurance the 49ers might end up using.
During his interview at the league meeting, Shanahan admitted that he doesn't know when Purdy will be able to return or what Purdy might look like when he does get back on the field
"I don't know how Brock's going to come back," Shanahan said on March 28, via PFT. "I don't know exactly when he's going to come back. So, I don't have an exact answer for that. But right now, because he is hurt, it's nice to focus on Trey, it's nice to focus on [Sam Darnold] and see how they do at OTAs and -- most likely -- see how they're playing leading into training camp because I think it will take some time for Brock."
The 49ers definitely seem realistic about the timeline of Purdy's return and the fact of the matter is that they don't seem to know yet when he's going to return. This means, in a best-case scenario, he could be ready for training camp, but as Purdy said, there's also a chance he could miss the entire season, but the more likely scenario seems to be that he'll be back somewhere in-between those two timelines.