When Can Brock Purdy Return From Elbow Surgery?

Sports Injury Central
When can Brock Purdy return from elbow surgery? Estimated timeline.
When can Brock Purdy return from elbow surgery? Estimated timeline. / Associated Press

After a seven-start win streak to propel the San Francisco 49ers to an NFC Championship berth, rookie quarterback Brock Purdy is heading for surgery on the elbow injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With the news of his full UCL tear, Purdy has two surgical options to get him back on the field, according to the Pro Football Docs. If the surgery consists of a repair, it’s not impossible he could be ready to throw fully six months from now. However, it’s far from a guarantee.

If Purdy requires a reconstruction – a graft to replace the damaged ligament – he would be out closer to a year and almost assuredly miss the entire regular season, according to the Pro Football Docs.

There is hope that’s not the case. Here’s why.

Throwing elbow injuries are entirely more common in baseball, where repeated stress on the ligament from throwing at high velocity wears out the ligament.

UCL injuries in football happen almost exclusively as a result of contact from a pass rusher during the throwing motion.

Quarterbacks do not make many “max effort” throws during a game, thus UCL injuries caused by repeated high-velocity torque on the elbow are fairly rare in the sport.

In-game, the Pro Football Docs detailed, by video, the worry for a UCL injury. The hope initially was for a sprain – a partial tear – similar to the one Bills quarterback Josh Allen suffered earlier during the regular season.

After the season, Allen revealed he had to adjust his throwing motion to adjust for the “pretty bothersome” pain from his Week 9 UCL sprain. The 26-year-old did not miss game time with the injury, but said he wasn’t fully healed until Wild Card weekend.

San Francisco 49ers Quarterbacks

After losing three quarterbacks to season-ending injuries, San Francisco heads into the offseason with only Purdy and Trey Lance under contract.

Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a broken left foot in Week 13, will be an unrestricted free agent after his one-year, $7 million contract expires. It’s no guarantee Garoppolo will return, potentially leaving the team without two healthy quarterbacks for OTAs.

Lance suffered an ankle fracture dislocation in mid-September and, if everything goes right in his rehab, will likely be ready in time for OTAs.

Dallas owboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered his ankle fracture dislocation in mid-October 2020 and was ready for OTAs. The hope is Lance and/or Purdy can do the same.

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