Usually you hear about the UCL in baseball pitchers as the key ligament that means Tommy John surgery, and definitely means you miss, at minimum, an entire season. Although Brock Purdy's right elbow injury is severe enough to knock him out for half a calendar year, at least he should be ready at the tail end of training camp or preseason.
Then again, with Purdy still shopping around for secondary medical opinions, who knows what the true timeline of his return will wind up being? We can only go off initial reports right now. It at least seems the reigning Mr. Irrelevant avoided the worst fate of all when he got slammed into by Eagles pass-rusher Haason Reddick.
Let's not overlook or downplay this. Brock Purdy REENTERED THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME with a fully torn elbow ligament. Like he legitimately could not throw the fucking ball and he was still willing to go back out there. Unbelievable.
But here we are once more. You'd think that a team who managed to advance to the NFC Championship Game three of the last four years would have a better handle on the most important position in sports. Alas, that ain't the case in San Francisco, where a No. 3 overall pick from two years ago, Trey Lance, suffered a broken ankle in Week 2. Former lame duck Jimmy Garoppolo got the call and rose to the occasion as he often does during the regular season, only to get hit with a season-ending foot injury.
Nothing was expected of a seventh-round rookie out of Iowa State. Imagine going into this season thinking Purdy would've factored into the Niners' immediate or even future plans whatsoever as a viable starting quarterback. Just goes to show how wild and unpredictable the NFL is — and it reemphasizes how much of an offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan is.
So. Jimmy G is hitting free agency. I have real doubts he sticks around to find out if he can maybe squeeze one more year out of the Niners and to see if they need help in the event Purdy isn't recovered in time for the season. Then, like, what the hell do you do with Trey Lance if you're San Francisco? Do you just bury him on the bench? This guy has participated in a grand total of five football games in the past three seasons. Had only one full year as a college starter at the FCS level before that. I think he needs reps! HOWEVER, Brock Purdy balled the fuck out and got the 49ers to the doorstep of the Super Bowl before he got hurt!!
I suppose the upside for San Francisco is not having to pay a QB big money any time soon. Unless they do, in fact, go for that pie-in-the-sky dream scenario of bringing in Old Man Tom Brady to his hometown team for one last ride. That would be absolutely incredible. Popcorn ready, appointment television, etc…
But I mean…assuming Trey Lance is healthy…he has to take all the first-team reps, right? What if Lance really starts to hit his stride? I'm not expecting anything from the young man at this point to be completely honest, yet he's the wildest of wild cards because of how little experience he has. It's like he's scratching at the surface of his potential in perpetuity in lieu of live reps.
Best-case scenario is Purdy comes back around early August, has a few preseason series to knock off the rust, and is ready to roll Week 1. Time will tell. Let's hope he makes a full recovery, because he's one of the most compelling individual storylines in recent NFL history. To have all that derailed by this injury would really, really suck.