Nick WagonerESPN staff writerRead 4 minutes
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says he knows for sure when quarterback Brock Purdy will be cleared to return to football.
But that didn’t stop Shanahan from offering his best Purdy update while speaking to Bay Area media following Tuesday’s organized team activities.
“We’re looking forward to Week 1 and we’re feeling pretty good about it,” Shanahan said. “That’s what we’re looking forward to … Usually you have to come back before that to achieve that goal and that’s the kind of goal we’re looking forward to and you have no reason to think any different.”
Purdy in 2010 Repaired a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after being injured in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 29. January 29th. A better idea on the day Purdy returned after starting a throwing program at the 12-week mark.
Purdy will hit 12 weeks on June 2 and is progressing as expected. Shanahan said Tuesday that Purdy is expected to begin his throwing plan next week.
For his part, Purdy still doesn’t want to put any hard-and-fast time limits on the answer, but he echoed Shana’s optimism.
“The arm is feeling good,” Purdy said. “We’re not going to try to put a timeline like that, to say I’ll be ready this time or this time. Of course, that’s the goal of wanting to be ready for the season and if that happens, that’s great. But like I said, we’re just one day away and we don’t want to say anything about regrets down the road.
Most of Purdy’s rehab up to this point has been limited to flexibility and range of motion exercises as well as plyometrics. His “throw” was reduced to a towel-like motion. Once he starts his throwing program, he can work his way up to throwing a full-sized NFL football from different distances and with different effort levels.
Purdy said he expects to continue his rehab and throwing program with personal quarterback trainers in Jacksonville, Fla., once the Niners finish their offseason in mid-June.
Despite an offseason vote of confidence from general manager John Lynch in which Lynch named Purdine the team’s starter in 2023, the backup quarterback hasn’t gotten ahead of himself as he continues his recovery.
“I just try to focus on where I am right now,” Purdy said. “For me, my arm is getting healthy. To say all these things and tell the team you want to be this guy or that guy, I think it’s stupid to think like that. … I’m not trying to get caught up in rumors and what people are saying or anything like that, but the fact that he’s saying it, yeah, I definitely appreciate it.
Purdy wasn’t the only 49ers quarterback who spent the past trying to fend off rumors and speculation. Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is working his way back from a sprained right ankle and trying to get his throwing mechanics back to normal after a sprained right index finger suffered early in his rookie year.
As Purdy was headed to his first job, Lance’s name came up during offseason trade talks with other teams. Lynch said he hasn’t initiated those discussions and admitted he made a big offer to the 49ers to trade Lance, especially given the team’s long-term injuries at the position.
Even after San Francisco signed veteran Sam Darnold to a one-year deal in free agency, Lance said he never considered asking for a new opportunity elsewhere.
“I knew where I wanted to be,” Lance said. “Like I said last year, even going back, all I want is an opportunity to compete. For me, I love it here. I love the coaching staff, I love the quarterback room, I love the guys in the locker room. There’s no doubt about it for me. This is where I want to be.”
As Purdy continues on the road to recovery, the Niners opened OTAs this week with Lance getting his first snap during 7-on-7 drills with Darnold trailing behind him. But Shanahan was quick to point out that those practices are separate from team practices, and he wants those reps to come out as the offseason schedule progresses.
The Niners’ quarterback situation is considered cloudy until Purdy is cleared, but Lance and Darnold have plenty of time to make an impact in the coming days, weeks and months.
“I think competition is for everybody,” Darnold said. “Obviously, we’ve got some competition in the quarterback department. … It’s always great to be able to go out there and compete and we’re going to do that.”