Why Purdy’s Elbow Surgery Could Be ‘Blessing in Disguise’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
If any area 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy can improve from his rookie season is his arm strength, his recent surgery may not be such a setback after all.
“I actually think it might be a bit of a blessing in disguise,” said UCSF orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nirav Pandya in the latest podcast “49ers Talk”.
Purdy underwent surgery Friday, during which Dr. Texas Rangers team physician Keith Meister performed an internal brace repair on Purdy’s right elbow. Purdy is expected to start throwing at three months as part of his physical therapy.
Purdy did not undergo the full elbow reconstruction, which is common for baseball pitchers, known as Tommy John surgery. Pitchers often come back with more speed than before surgery.
“A lot of people see pitchers catch Tommy John and they come back even better and they think it’s the surgery,” said Dr. pandya. “Basically it forces you to really rehabilitate and work on mechanics you may never have worked on in the past, and reset things.”
That’s why Dr. Pandya that he believes Purdy getting full medical clearance to resume playing football in about six months’ time could noticeably improve his arm strength.
“I think it gives him a chance to work on strength, work on the ability to potentially change his mechanics and even come back stronger,” said Dr. pandya.
“So it’s not so much about the actual surgery itself, but the fact that you’ve been in forced rehab for six months to work on strengthening and protecting his arm, and that gives him a chance to come back (stronger). “
Dr. Pandya cautioned that there are few cases where quarterbacks have had this surgery. One of the noted patients was former 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens, who suffered a similar injury late in the 2020 NFL season and played in two games the following season with the Cleveland Browns.
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The question becomes how Purdy’s elbow will endure the rigors of playing football, Dr Pandya said.
“When pitchers have that surgery, nobody comes up to them and hits that arm,” said Dr. pandya. “That’s what we really don’t know: how will this hold up if he gets hit again in the backfield?
“That would be the only concern. I think he will be able to go out and play, but it’s the physical part of the game that could hold him back in week 1, week 2, week 3.”
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