The 49ers were back on the practice fields Tuesday in Santa Clara.
While all eyes were focused on Trey Lance and Sam Darnold under center, the status of injured quarterback Brock Purdy is also at the top of mind. Coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s session and said the team is still hopeful Purdy will be ready for the start of the season in the second week of September.
“We’re hoping for Week 1 and we’re feeling pretty optimistic about that,” Shanahan said. “That’s what we’re hoping for – he’ll be ready to play in Week 1. Usually, that doesn’t mean that’s the day you come back. Usually you gotta come before that to make that goal. That’s kinda the goal we’re hoping for. Don’t have any reason to think differently.”
Purdy is about 10 weeks removed from having surgery to repair the UCL in his right elbow, after he got injured in the NFC Championship following a miraculous end-of-the-season run. The 49ers open their 2023 campaign on Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A week 1 return would be six months removed from his surgery, which would be a best-case scenario. Purdy has been simulating throws with a towel, but is scheduled to start tossing the pigskin next week. The 23-year-old wants to temper any expectations that he’ll be ready for Week 1.
“I feel good, my arm is feeling good,” Purdy said. “To say I’m gonna be ready by this time or this time, we’re not trying to label any kind of timeline like that. But for sure, though, that’s a goal. You wanna be ready for the season. If that's the case, great. We're taking it one day at a time. Don't wanna say anything that you'll regret down the road."
Lance, the 23-year-old former No. 3 overall pick, was a full participant in Tuesday’s session as he returns from an ankle/foot injury he suffered in Week 2 last year. He’ll be competing with Darnold – the 25-year-old free agent signee – for QB1 reps until Purdy is fit to return.