San Francisco Chronicle

Purdy surgery put off until March at earliest

- By Eric Branch

What could be the most impactful event of the San Francisco 49ers’ offseason has been delayed.

Quarterbac­k Brock Purdy, who was scheduled to have elbow surgery Wednesday in Dallas, met with his surgeon, Dr. Keith Meister, on Tuesday and it was recommende­d that Purdy wait to undergo his procedure because of continued inflammati­on, according to multiple league sources. Purdy will meet again with Meister, the team physician for the Texas Rangers, in early March.

Despite the postponeme­nt, it’s still expected that Purdy will have his torn ulnar collateral ligament repaired with what’s known as the internal-brace technique, which involves screws and sutures to stabilize the ligament. With a repair, Purdy is expected to resume throwing in three months and be medically cleared to return to full football activities in six months.

Given the delay, Purdy would now be ready around the first Sunday of the NFL regular season, on Sept. 9, if he has the surgery in early March.

That’s the best-case scenario. It’s possible Meister could determine mid-surgery that Purdy will require a more involved procedure based on the extent of the damage to his UCL that wasn’t revealed on MRIs. Purdy has said this “hybrid” surgery would involve a graft and a recovery time of seven to nine months, meaning that, if Purdy had the procedure in early March, he could be sidelined until early December if his rehab progresses slowly.

“The doctors say, you’ve got to go in and see what it looks like,” Purdy said on “The Doug Gottlieb Show” on Feb. 10. “After all the MRIs and results that we’ve done so far, they’ve got a good idea like, ‘Man, we’ve seen this a million times. We’re going to do a repair with the internal brace.’ … That’s where we’re at with it. But you still just don’t know until they go in for surgery.”

It sounds as if it would be a major upset if Purdy needed a

more complex surgery. Given the 49ers’ ongoing injury issues, however, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch likely will be experienci­ng plenty of pre-procedure nerves.

They could be forgiven for fearing the worst after a year in which their top two quarterbac­ks, Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, suffered seasonendi­ng injuries in the regular season and their next two quarterbac­ks, Purdy and Josh Johnson, were hurt in their 31-7 loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championsh­ip Game on Jan. 29.

The 49ers were forced to end their season without a fully functional QB as Purdy, unable to throw more than 10 yards, returned primarily to hand off after Johnson suffered a concussion in Philadelph­ia.

Now, nearly a month later, their offseason QB plan would likely require major editing if Purdy’s recovery extends deep into the regular season.

Shanahan said shortly after the season that they expected to enter 2023 with Purdy and Lance as their top two QBs while indicating they would probably add a low-cost No. 3 QB in free agency.

However, that plan would probably be scuttled if Purdy needs a hybrid surgery. That could prompt the 49ers to sign a higher-end QB, such as Andy Dalton (Saints), Teddy Bridgewate­r (Dolphins) or Jacoby Brissett (Browns), to provide competitio­n for Lance and potentiall­y serve as a capable backup while Purdy is out.

Purdy is the favorite to serve as the season-opening starter if he can return in time for Week 1 at full strength.

He indicated he’s had discussion­s with Shanahan and Lynch about his anticipate­d role next season, with the understand­ing that the outcome of his surgery will help determine the path forward.

And the postponeme­nt of Wednesday’s scheduled surgery figures to only add to the 49ers’ anxiety and uncertaint­y.

“We’ve had some conversati­ons, but the biggest thing for them, is, ‘Man, you’ve got to get healthy and see where we go from there,” Purdy said. “If I’m delayed coming back, they have to do what’s best for the team and have someone, like Trey or someone, ready. But we haven’t had any other serious conversati­ons about it. It’s just going to come down to what happens and what it looks like post-surgery.”

 ?? Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The Chronicle ?? The success of the surgery on Brock Purdy’s ulnar collateral ligament will have a big impact on the 49ers’ offseason by determinin­g how quickly he can return to the field.
Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The Chronicle The success of the surgery on Brock Purdy’s ulnar collateral ligament will have a big impact on the 49ers’ offseason by determinin­g how quickly he can return to the field.

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