Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday that if Purdy passed the final step of the protocol, as the team hoped, he would “definitely” start against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
“To me that wasn’t a decision because how he’s been throughout this week,” Shanahan said. “And now that’s why he’s going to have a chance.”
Purdy appeared to suffer a concussion midway through the fourth quarter Monday night when he took helmet-to-helmet contact from Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks on a quarterback sneak. Purdy finished the game seemingly without issue, although he had a pair of passes intercepted in the closing moments, which helped seal Minnesota’s win.
He began feeling concussion symptoms on the team’s flight home from Minnesota late Monday evening and subsequently entered the protocol.
Because they played Monday, the Niners had a walk-through Wednesday, with Purdy doing some side work but not cleared to do anything against the defense. On Thursday, Purdy had cleared more steps in the protocol and was able to practice on a limited basis. And on Friday, Purdy was a full participant in practice.
The final step for Purdy was to be cleared for full contact by the Niners’ team physician and be examined by an independent neurological consultant, who would then have to agree that Purdy’s concussion has resolved for him to be allowed to play. That happened Saturday, setting Purdy up to return.
Through the first seven weeks, Purdy has started every game for the 49ers after returning from a March surgery for a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. His 75.7 QBR is third in the NFL, and he has thrown for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions heading into Week 8.