Breaking Down The San Francisco 49ers QB Conundrum From An Injury Perspective: ProFootballDoc

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The San Francisco 49ers have built a top team ready to win now. The current quarterback injury situation puts general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan in a tough predicament.

By QB health, the order of the top 3 is: 1) Jimmy Garoppolo, 2) Trey Lance, and 3) Brock Purdy. However, the team’s “wish” list is the opposite with 1) Purdy 2) Lance and 3) Jimmy G.

Purdy injured his ulnar collateral ligament (“Tommy John” elbow ligament) in the NFC Championship game.

Purdy has yet to decide on surgery and the report is that a throwing elbow UCL repair surgery would be six months. There is no guarantee that he will make that somewhat optimistic timeline as was detailed here. His only chance is to undergo a repair of the “Tommy John” ligament. If he undergoes reconstruction with a graft, that would take well over a year.

This year’s 49ers Super Bowl run was submarined by QB health. Is the team willing to take chances going into next season without a guarantee of health? Even if Purdy is ready for the start of the regular season, a lack of offseason practice and preparation could hinder his growth.

Lance is said to be ready in a month or so after his ankle fracture/dislocation and surgery. There is no guarantee that he will return to full health from this injury. He will be able to be mobile but will he be slowed and this affect his run game production? Not to mention that Lance is still unproven and green.

Garoppolo is fully healthy now from his foot fracture but San Francisco has been clear in wanting to move on. On the other hand, 49ers legend Joe Montana would choose him to start.

The irony is that Jimmy G is the one that is labeled “injury prone”, yet he is the healthiest of the three right now.

Are the 49ers willing to pin their Super Bowl aspirations on a likely, hopefully or maybe for quarterback health. That seems risky given how this season ended.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as Purdy decides on surgery. The optimistic six month recovery timeline has yet to even start. If he decides against an operation, there may not be a guarantee of healing. Will San Francisco be forced to sign a high profile veteran or at least have a contingency plan? The 49ers face quite the conundrum at QB.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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