49ers injury news: Brock Purdy in concussion protocol, Sam Darnold to start Week 8?

News isn't great for the 49ers, who are looking at Brock Purdy entering the concussion protocol after Monday's loss to the Vikings.
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Sam Darnold (L) and Brock Purdy (R)
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Sam Darnold (L) and Brock Purdy (R) / Harry How/GettyImages

The 49ers may be forced into starting Sam Darnold over Brock Purdy on a short week because of the latter's head injury.

The San Francisco 49ers have already dealt with a number of injuries to key players as of late, including being without All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) during last Monday night's loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

At some point in that game, quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a head injury that ultimately put him in the concussion protocol.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed this to reporters on Wednesday.

According to the head coach, Purdy started showing symptoms on the flight back from Minnesota. Without getting too deep into head injuries, symptoms can sometimes take hours or even days to reveal themselves.

Pro Football Talk thinks it found the play on which Purdy was injured, a QB sneak in the fourth quarter which reveals a blow to Purdy's head.

And while it's not great news for the Niners, who are still dealing with injuries to players like Samuel and Williams, Shanahan did admit that it's possible for the second-year quarterback to clear the protocol in time for San Francisco's next game, which falls on Sunday, Oct. 29 against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

That said, ESPN's Adam Schefter pointed out that it could be awfully difficult for Purdy to return in time for Week 7's game:

if that's the case, Shanahan would have to turn to Purdy's backup, Sam Darnold.

Related story: Why 1 of Brock Purdy's 2 interceptions vs. Vikings wasn't his fault

Sam Darnold could get 1st start with 49ers this Sunday

Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, hasn't taken any meaningful snaps with San Francisco after signing a one-year free-agent deal last offseason.

A year ago with the Carolina Panthers, Darnold posted a 4-2 record as a starter with a 58.6 completion percentage, seven touchdowns against three interceptions and a passer rating of 92.6, which was actually a career-high and notably on a poorer offense.

That said, Darnold's career trajectory has trended downward ever since he was a top pick of the New York Jets back in 2018, but a chance to resurrect that career with the 49ers would be ideal.

He might get that chance this Sunday when the Niners host the Bengals, provided Purdy isn't able to go.

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