Brock Purdy’s Timeline Unclear But Trey Lance Nearing San Francisco 49ers Return

It may be some time before the San Francisco 49ers have clarity on when Brock Purdy will be ready to return from the torn elbow ligament he suffered in the NFC Championship Game, but the man they originally envisioned as their starting quarterback, Trey Lance, is confident he will be ready by the time the Niners start their offseason program.

Purdy tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) on the first offensive series of the 49ers’ 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, dooming San Francisco to defeat as a highly anticipated title game was turned into a one-sided affair as the Niners ran out of quarterbacks who could throw when backup Josh Johnson suffered a concussion in the third quarter.

Reports have suggested Purdy is set to undergo surgery to repair the tear, an operation that would face him leaving a six-month recovery.

But speaking as the 49ers cleared out their lockers ahead of the offseason, Purdy revealed he is still assessing his options.

“There are different options, in terms of letting it recover, surgery, all these different types of surgeries, repair vs. reconstruction,” Purdy said, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. “So we still haven’t come to a conclusion about all of that.”

Purdy could return in time for training camp but that timeline would put him behind the 8-ball somewhat in a potential competition with Lance, who said he is three to four weeks away from being fully cleared for practice and expects to be ready for OTAs, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic.

Asked if he had been given any indication as to how the quarterback situation would play out, Lance told reporters: “No, I haven’t talked to Kyle [Shanahan] yet, so I’ll go talk to Kyle and I’m sure it will be a whole story for this year for you guys. Super excited for that, excited to get back out there, excited to compete.”

The 49ers’ quarterback position will indeed again be a hot topic of discussion in the offseason.

Purdy looked to have made it his own with a spectacular run after taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo — who appears likely to depart in free agency — in Week 13, but his own injury has thrown any such plans into flux.

Lance would now appear to have the edge given the extra reps he will get throughout the offseason program, though Purdy has eight starts across the regular season and postseason to Lance’s four.

Yet with the prospect of a deal for Tom Brady already being discussed by many in the wake of Purdy’s injury, the immediate future at the game’s most important position for San Francisco is very much up in the air going into the offseason.