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Mike Silver breaks down 49ers quarterback hierarchy

Chris Mezzavilla

The 49ers kicked off their late spring OTAs practices this week. For the first time since suffering a gruesome fracture to his right fibula, Trey Lance was back on the field and healthy.

So, too — for the first time as a 49er — was Sam Darnold.

Brock Purdy remains roughly a week away from starting to throw again. No one yet knows how he’ll look after recovering from a repair of a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

With so much unknown, Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle joined Murph and Mac on Wednesday to break the situation down, starting from the top, and Brock PUrdy:

I think I wrote it in December, it’s over. It’s Purdy, done. That’s what Kyle wants. That, of course, would have been the case barring a cataclysmic throwing arm injury in Philly, which made it weirder.

If Purdy is, in fact, back to being Purdy and healthy and if he actually starts Week 1, wow. He’s clearly going to be the guy and we won’t have nearly as much to talk about.

But I did cover Joe [Montana] and the elbow. That’s two years of basically being sidelined. I have PTSD from that.

I think there’s a scenario where Purdy is able to come back maybe early but then the arm, the load of all the throwing and the practice and all that becomes an issue. I’m going to say the dreaded words here, we could be talking about arm fatigue, so you don’t know about that.

Silver thinks that, despite what Kyle Shanahan or Purdy himself say, the 49ers don’t know where Purdy is at just yet.

So if Purdy isn’t healthy for the start of the season, or beyond that, who gets the nod? Silver thinks there’s an inkling towards Sam Darnold.

“I would just say this. If you answer questions about possibly trading a guy as, “Well, we listen to anything,” then a story comes out that says, hey, they might trade them before the draft and you push back zero on that, and you say they’re going to split reps, it lends me to believe that there’s maybe a little bit of a vibe towards Darnold in their mind all things being equal,” Silver said. “But split reps are split reps and we’ll see.”

He did, however, express a bit of optimism with Lance.

Lance said Tuesday that he was fully healthy around the end of March for the first time since fracturing his index finger against the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021’s preseason opener.

He’s reportedly worked on his throwing motion and said he’s also regained his joy for playing football.

“I do think there’s upside with Trey,” Silver said. “I’m excited if a new throwing motion means more accuracy. I think he obviously needs reps and I don’t know how much any of this has gotten in his head. He seems to be a great teammate, a great kid. I’ve always stood on the fact that they were blown away by his intelligence and that was really one of the determining factors as to why they picked him.”

Shanahan said Tuesday that Lance and Darnold will split reps in the offseason program and into training camp, leaving the situation look like a fairly open competition for the No. 2 spot.

Listen to the full interview above. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.