The Ukiah Daily Journal
Doctor will determine fate of Purdy's immediate future
It won't be Kyle Shanahan who decides on the 49ers' quarterback for the 2023 season.
That call right now belongs to Dr. Keith Meister, team physician for the Texas Rangers and a veteran of more than 200 surgeries involving the ulnar collateral ligament.
While the 49ers and Brock Purdy tried to put the best face on the injury that ended their Super Bowl run, Purdy himself conceded in an interview with KNBR last week that Meister will ultimately determine if training camp is a realistic possibility.
Meister's options are an “internal brace” with a potential recovery time of six months, a hybrid surgery with elements of reconstruction similar to the “Tommy John” procedure and even the full-blown Tommy John surgery.
If anything more than the “internal brace” is required, getting Purdy ready for the regular season opener is off the table. If a complete reconstruction is necessary, Purdy could miss the entire season.
Purdy said the decision will be in Meister's hands.
“He's done this year after year with the best of the best of MLB pitchers,” Purdy said Thursday. “So he's definitely seen this kind of thing happen, and he's going to make the best call, and not just for the heck of it. It's obviously the best call for my career moving forward. And he knows what's best and he's going to make the best decision for us, so it'll be good.”
When you throw in the fact that Trey Lance is still rehabbing from a second procedure on his broken right ankle with the hope of being ready for OTAS, no wonder Shanahan and general manager John Lynch weren't as conspicuous and available in Arizona as many of the 49ers players.
No use taking questions when you don't know the answer.
That didn't stop 49ers players and former 49ers from giving their thoughts, and it was fairly clear everyone is crossing their fingers and hoping Purdy will be good to go at some point in training camp.
Tight end George Kittle gave an honest answer in an interview with Bleacher Report Gridiron and longtime edge rusher Von Miller.
“You can't talk (enough) about what Brock Purdy did,” Kittle said. “He's fantastic. Our offense was operating at the highest it's probably been since 2019. So I mean, in my opinion, it's Brock's job to lose.”
“There will be competition because Brock's going to be out until training camp with his surgery, so it's going to be interesting. But when you find a guy like that, that can seamlessly jump in, I mean, I think it's his job to lose.”
Christian Mccaffrey told host Kay Adams on “Up and Adams” he was amazed at what Purdy accomplished.
“To come in as a rookie and to handle himself the way he did, to put the ball where he needed to put it was very impressive,” Mccaffrey said. “I've played with a lot of quarterbacks in six years and what he did I didn't think could be done by a rookie quarterback and he proved me wrong.”
One thing the 49ers need not fear is a turf war. As they were on getaway day, Purdy and Lance remained respectful of each other. Given what we know about their personalities, don't expect that to change.
Lance said on the Rich Eisen Show he didn't receive any sort of commitment from Shanahan about being No. 1 and didn't expect one.
“I wouldn't want it to be that way,” Lance said. “Brock played way too well and at such a high level and handled himself the right way. I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I'm just handed something . ... I'm just going to get on the field and compete.”
Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young was of the belief Purdy is probably the best option, health permitting.
“It looks like Trey will be ready, no doubt,” Young told Vern Glenn of KPIX. “If Brock can be healthy and reclaim his spot, I think he claimed it. He put a stake at the top of Everest. I thought he was really amazing.
“I think they just play that out. They're both not toxic personalities. That locker room is locked in. They love `em both and they'll figure it out. I think the biggest thing is if Brock can get back to play this season. If not, you can't go in with just one quarterback so they're going to have to do something. If they can get both back healthy, I think they're kind of covered.”
If the 49ers receive bad news from Meister on Feb. 22, they'll be looking for another quarterback when the free agency period opens March 13.
In theory, they could then approach Jimmy Garoppolo about coming back. The problem is circumstances have changed. Garoppolo had no leverage a year ago and has all of it now, which is why Shanahan wrote him off at the season-ending press conference.
Garoppolo is likely to get a starting job and his last big contract elsewhere and suitors could include the Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Washington Commanders and Houston Texans.
The lone voice in the wilderness holding out hope for Jimmy G's return is Joe Montana, who said it last week in an interview with Michael Silver of Bally Sports and was repeating it in Arizona.