Is Brock Purdy playing in 49ers' 2023 preseason opener vs. Raiders?

The 49ers and Raiders kick off their respective preseason campaigns for 2023 on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Brock Purdy still needs to build up arm strength after undergoing offseason surgery on his elbow, so will he play against the Raiders?

It might be preseason, but football is officially back for fans of the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders.

The two teams shared in joint practices on Thursday and Friday from the Raiders' facility not far from Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, where both teams will square off for their first exhibition tilt of the upcoming 2023 campaign on Sunday.

During those practices, second-year quarterback Brock Purdy received the lion's share of first-team reps in 11-on-11 drills, while fellow quarterbacks Trey Lance, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen got next to nothing (or nothing at all) of the first-team snaps:

It's been a pretty wild 2023 for Purdy, who suffered a torn UCL in the NFC Championship game last January and was forced to undergo offseason elbow surgery that endangered his chances of starting the regular season.

Cleared to practice before training camp, the last few weeks have been mostly about getting Purdy ready and into shape after he spent the bulk of the offseason rehabilitating his throwing arm.

That said, after two joint practices and Purdy in need of some more field time, will head coach Kyle Shanahan play the quarterback this Sunday?

Kyle Shanahan on Brock Purdy vs. Raiders: 'I doubt Brock plays'

At the tail end of training camp prior to practicing versus Vegas, Shanahan told reporters that he wasn't planning on playing the bulk of his starters on Sunday.

"Usually when we go scrimmage against guys, I rarely play our starters," Shanahan said. That’s usually my plan going into it, because I’m a little more into the practices than the games.

As far as Purdy was concerned, Shanahan said, "I doubt Brock plays."

The head coach did admit that it wasn't fully decided. Given it's an exhibition contest with little meaning besides a tune-up for the regular season, exposing Purdy to any unnecessary injury risk probably isn't the best idea.

Read more: Kyle Shanahan shouldn't be tempted to play Brock Purdy vs. Raiders

Plus, Shanahan and the Niners have a key battle for the No. 2 quarterbacking spot between Lance and Darnold. That might require more attention than anything Purdy could do.

True, Shanahan could change his mind at the very last minute and have Purdy dress in uniform for Sunday's contest. And, based on what Shanahan told KNBR 680 on Friday, Purdy won't play and Lance will start the game. Darnold will be on the field for the second half.

San Francisco and Las Vegas square off for Week 1 of the preseason on Sunday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. ET.

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