Brock Purdy UCL Injury Brings Yet Another Quarterback Headache For 49ers

The pain of the San Francisco 49ers’ playoff exit in the NFC Championship Game was doubled on Monday with the news rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has suffered a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament.

Purdy suffered an elbow injury on the first offensive series of San Francisco’s much-anticipated Conference Championship clash with the Eagles, his participation ended early on a hit by Haason Reddick that forced a fumble.

The last pick in the 2022 draft, whose emergence became one of the stories of the season, did not return until the second half, when backup Josh Johnson’s concussion forced him back into the lineup despite his inability to throw the ball any kind of meaningful distance.

San Francisco, having lost the first-year quarterback who started the year as its third-stringer and the man they signed in midseason to back him up, never had a legitimate chance of competing with the Eagles, with the 49ers’ 31-7 defeat an unfair reflection of their excellent 2022 season.

And the 49ers will now head into the 2023 offseason with considerable uncertainty around the quarterback position, with multiple reports confirming Purdy has received recommendations to have surgery to repair his torn UCL.

Purdy’s timeline for recovery, assuming it is simply a UCL repair, is around six months. Should Purdy require a UCL reconstruction, he would be facing at least nine months on the sideline.

As such, a starting quarterback job that looked to be Purdy’s to lose after he won his first seven starts, now appears to be up for grabs once again, with the door for former third overall pick Trey Lance seemingly very much open. Lance suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damage that required two ankle surgeries in Week 2 of the season.

San Francisco looked to be in an extremely advantageous position at quarterback, with Purdy’s rise giving them a quarterback they could trust to thrive running the offense and another in Lance in whom they had enough belief to take in the top three after trading three first-round picks to get to that position in 2021.

Now the 49ers are faced with preparing for next season with two young quarterbacks who have 12 starts between them who will both be coming off injuries.

Injury misfortune at the game’s most important position has been a theme of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era and the coach-general manager combination that has brought about sustained on-field success for the Niners despite their consistent bad luck at quarterback must now again plot a path forward under center.

In an offseason in which the 49ers also have to try to replace defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, sign Nick Bosa to a contract extension and re-sign a host of free agents on both sides of the ball, the headache caused by the Purdy injury is one they could very much do without.

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