49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says QB Brock Purdy will start throwing ahead of schedule in elbow recovery

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (14) stands on the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy could be back sooner than expected. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy tore the UCL in his throwing arm during the first quarter of the team's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship. Fast forward to Tuesday, and the 23-year-old will be allowed to start throwing "sometime next week," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on day two of voluntary organized team activities.

The update puts Purdy ahead of schedule in his elbow recovery. After sustaining the injury in January, he underwent surgery to repair the ligament on March 10. On the day of his surgery, the 49ers announced he was “anticipated to start a throwing progression in three months,” which would have been sometime in June.

The expedited timeline could potentially be credited to Texas Rangers head team physician Keith Meister's choice not to do a reconstruction of the ligament, as he would have in a Tommy John surgery. Instead, Meister conducted an internal brace repair, which added support to the ligament.

In April, Purdy confirmed to Yahoo Sports that he no longer had to wear an external brace on his arm, calling it a "big win."

While throwing will be a major addition to Purdy's currently limited forms of exercise, it's just one step on a long journey back to the field.

A major milestone for the young quarterback would be participating in the 49ers training camp, which will take place later in the summer. "Only God knows," where Purdy's recovery will be in June or July, Shanahan said.

Acknowledging that all the team can do is estimate, Shanahan said there's hope Purdy will be ready to play for Week 1 of the NFL season.

"We're pretty optimistic about that," he said, "we don't have any reason to think differently."

Purdy also took the podium on Tuesday, saying he shares the Week 1 optimism — cautiously.

"I feel good, arm is feeling good," he said. "To say I'm going to be ready by this time or this time, we're not trying to label anything like that. That's a goal, right? I want to be ready for this season. If that the case, great. But we're just taking it one day at a time, and don't want to say anything that we'd regret."

Luckily, Shanahan mentioned earlier this month that he thinks the 49ers quarterback trio of Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are all capable of leading a team. If Purdy is healthy, it seems like he would be the pick to start Week 1. But if not, Shanahan has two other options.