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Will Brock Purdy need to undergo Tommy John surgery?

The fairy tale season ended with a thump for Brock Purdy on Sunday, and it looks like it may get worse before it gets any better.

The fairy tale season ended with a thump for Brock Purdy on Sunday, and it looks like it may get worse before it gets any better.
Tim NwachukwuGetty

While the Philadelphia Eagles coming out on top in the NFC Championship Game may not have been a great shock, the way that it came about certainly was.

After losing both starting and backup quarterbacks to injury, the 49ers had to rely on third-string rookie Brock Purdy to get them to the Super Bowl, and he had an absolutely fairy-tale season, winning all eight games that he had played in.

But then came the hit. Eagles Pro Bowl edge rusher Haason Reddick got to him in the first quarter and hit his throwing arm just as he got the ball away. While the 49ers were down to their fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson, Brock Purdy was on the sideline nursing his elbow.

When Johnson too went down with a concussion, San Francisco was faced with having to play Christian McCaffrey under center. Purdy came back into the game but it was immediately clear that his arm was not right. The 49ers kept the ball on the ground for the rest of the game and suffered a disastrous 31-7 loss to the Eagles.

How bad is Brock Purdy’s injury?

The 49ers have stated that they believe that Purdy has injured his ulnar collateral ligament, and that they would know more after undergoing an MRI to see the extent of the damage. Now that MRI has been conducted and it appears that his UCL is completely torn, requiring Tommy John surgery to repair.

A common injury in baseball among pitchers, Tommy John generally requires a full season to come back from. The throwing motion is different for quarterbacks, so the recovery time may not be as drastic, but the severity of the injury can not be understated.

During the game, viewers could see Purdy and head coach Kyle Shanahan speaking on the sidelines. Purdy confirmed later what he had said in that exchange.

“I told him right there if we run a play, I can’t throw deep. It’s hurting really bad. If we’re going to get a complete pass, it has to be something short, if that’s alright.”

The pain in Purdy’s arm never lessened as the game wore on and 49ers staff were worried from the outset for the young quarterback, and it would appear now that their concern was well-founded.

The team is having a second opinion to make sure of the options, and there is still hope that the ligament could be repaired rather than reconstructed, which would see Purdy ready to go for training camp. But the outlook for the young quarterback is that things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better.