Brock Purdy to Undergo UCL Surgery

San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Conference Championship - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a complete UCL tear in his throwing elbow and will undergo surgery, according to a report from NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Purdy is expected to have a recovery time of six months. 

Purdy suffered the injury on the first drive of the NFC Championship, returning to play in the second half after backup quarterback Josh Johnson was ruled out with a concussion. 

Purdy's projected recovery timetable will allow him to return before the preseason begins. He will join fellow 49ers quarterback Trey Lance, who is recovering from a season-ending ankle surgery.


18 comments, Last at 05 Feb 2023, 2:47pm

#1 by serutan // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:11pm


 AKA Tommy John surgery.  Does anyone know if any other QB has had it?

Points: 0

#2 by Drivster // Jan 31, 2023 - 6:34am

IIRC Jake Delhomme in 2000s.  And he came back to play about as well as he'd been playing before.  Surgery didn't recover Rob Johnson's career though.  I don't think Johnson played again after the UCL.

A good approach is not being injured enough to need surgery.  Carson Palmer took a long time to decide, then went the non-surgical route, recovered and played for years.

This one is obviously bad for surgery to be announced so quickly.  Best of luck to Brock.


Points: 3

#3 by andrew // Jan 31, 2023 - 7:26am

You have to wonder if he made it worse by trying to throw (on the sidelines more than in game) after the injury...

As for Rob Johnson, not sure if he would have played again with or without it.

Points: 1

#5 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 31, 2023 - 9:09am

Yeah, Rob Johnson's career was pretty much done either way.

Points: 1

#6 by RickD // Jan 31, 2023 - 9:22am

Yeah, 6 months is nowhere near enough time to recover from TJ. 

Points: 0

#7 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 31, 2023 - 10:05am

That's how I read it, too.  He's going with a less intrusive operation, rather than full reconstruction (Tommy John).

Points: 0

#8 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 31, 2023 - 10:26am

I find myself wondering if the nature of throwing a baseball is just harder on the UCL? Seems like QBs seldom do the "full TJ".

Points: 1

#9 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 31, 2023 - 10:33am

It is. Pitching is a harder throwing motion for the arm than throwing a football is.

This is why basically every professional pitcher has had at least one elbow/shoulder surgery, whereas it's really only an impact trauma injury for QBs.

Hell, multiple MLB pitchers have broken their arm throwing a fastball. The deceleration loads are enormous.

Points: 3

#11 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 31, 2023 - 11:02am

It's also a different throwing motion, and it works different muscles and stresses the shoulder differently. This is part of the reason pitchers can also be QBs without the extra wear really compromising their effectiveness in either sport.

Points: 0

#13 by rmjohnston // Jan 31, 2023 - 1:52pm

It's also a different throwing motion on different kinds of pitches. The armslot for pitching is generally much closer to straight overhand than the  armslot for throwing a football, resulting in rotator cuff injuries on the regular. Curveballs (topspin) are worse on the elbow than fastballs (backspin), and sliders (sidespin) are an attempt to beg the elbow injury fairy to pay you a visit. Imagine holding a heavy miniature football by the point, throwing forward at 85-90 MPH, and flicking your wrist/forearm hard enough to generate a spiral rotation of 37-50 rotations per second. That's a professional level slider.

Brock Purdy might be able to get by without full reconstructive surgery, but a pitcher with the same injury would probably never be able to do so.

Points: 1

#12 by serutan // Jan 31, 2023 - 11:48am

Didn't realize there was a difference. 

Points: 0

#16 by DavidL // Feb 01, 2023 - 5:22pm

TJ is a reconstruction, where you take a donor ligament and turn it into a new UCL for the patient. Repair, which is what Purdy is reportedly getting, "just" reattaches the damaged ligament without adding in any new tissue.

Points: 2

#14 by carlosla // Jan 31, 2023 - 10:23pm

Is there anything to the idea that Shanahan is bad for QB health? I think way back to the RGIII Redskins era, where the Shanahan offense got receivers wiiiiide open, and ended RGIII’s career just as it started. I haven’t seen enough of the Niners to have a POV. Honest question.

Points: 0

#15 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 01, 2023 - 11:55am

Anecdotally there's some talk recently about this, but I haven't seen any solid data.  Even if the data is assembled and even if it shows more frequent QB injuries in the Shanahan-system, it'll be difficult to assess whether the baseline likelihood of injury is higher or whether it's just been random luck that has pushed it higher.  As with so many things related to football, the number of data observations we get are so small over the course of a single season that it's difficult to get a decent read on what's really going on.

Points: 0

#17 by Sixknots // Feb 01, 2023 - 8:40pm

Latest update that I've seen is he needs full TJ surjery.

Points: 0

#18 by ImNewAroundThe… // Feb 05, 2023 - 2:47pm

Doesn't sound like a career ender at least. They should feel fine with him and Lance and should use their resources for protecting them instead hoping their last pick hits when their first 2...erm 3 go down.

Points: 0

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