NFL

Shanahan unsure when Purdy will be ready to play in 2023

By Sports Desk March 28, 2023

Kyle Shanahan remains unsure when Brock Purdy will return despite San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch expressing optimism the quarterback could be ready for training camp.

Purdy emerged as one of the stories of the 2022 season, the final pick of last year's draft stepping in after both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered season-ending injury and winning five successive starts to help the Niners to a 13-4 record and the NFC's second seed. 

He then won two playoff games before suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow on the first offensive series of San Francisco's NFC Championship Game defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Purdy underwent successful surgery to repair the injury on March 10, with his projected timeline one that would see him resume throwing in three months.

On Monday, Lynch said he was hopeful Purdy would be back for training camp and described him as the "leader in the clubhouse" in a prospective quarterback competition with 2021 third overall pick Lance.

Head coach Shanahan painted a more uncertain picture, but appeared relaxed about the Niners' quarterback situation.

"He won't be able to do anything on the field, for who knows? It could go anywhere from six months to eight months," Shanahan said.

"So, it's all open like that, and we'll have a better idea … at three months out of surgery, they have a better idea of whether it's going to be six months or eight months. … That's all I know, and I'm pretty good with that.

"We'll see at three months if he'll be ready for camp, or if not, then perhaps we say it's gonna go slow. It might be Week 1 and, at the latest, Week 4. It's just all estimations, and we'll see what happens."

Lance, who has started just four games since the 49ers traded three first-round picks to move up and to select him owing in part to the ankle injury he suffered last September, is set to split first-team reps in OTAs and minicamp with another former third overall selection, Sam Darnold. The 49ers signed Darnold to a one-year contract this month.

"With Brock being hurt, it does open [the job] up, and it does give [Lance] a chance," Shanahan added.

"I don't know how Brock's going to come back. I don't know exactly when he's going to come back, so I don't have the exact answer for that.

"But right now, because he is hurt, it is nice to focus on Trey, it is nice to focus on Sam, and see how they do in OTAs and most likely see how they're playing leading us into training camp because I think it will take some time for Brock."

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