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Brock Purdy in concussion protocol as 49ers may now turn to Sam Darnold

The 49ers may have to turn to Sam Darnold at quarterback this weekend. 

Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that starter Brock Purdy was in the concussion protocol after he felt symptoms on the trip back from Minnesota.

That has put Darnold, 26, next in line to start under center, with Purdy, 23, uncertain for Week 8. 

Shanahan said he was surprised when he woke up on the plane and heard about Purdy’s symptoms, but the 49ers head coach did leave the door open for Purdy to possibly play when San Francisco hosts the Bengals on Sunday. 

“He does have enough time [to clear the protocol],” Shanahan said when asked about Purdy’s potential for Sunday. “He‘s just got to go through the process.”

However, it would seem unlikely Purdy will return in time for the game given that no player put into concussion protocol this season has played in the same week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy warms up before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023

Shanahan wasn’t exactly sure at what point in the game Purdy suffered the injury, but the quarterback did take a particularly hard hit during an attempted quarterback sneak on a third-and-short in the fourth quarter.

Purdy appeared to get clipped by Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks as he attempted to go over the pile, and a replay showed the signal-caller’s head flinging back after getting tackled. 

Purdy threw two interceptions after the hit in the 22-17 road loss.

“Possibly, we don’t know for sure, cause he didn’t start getting [symptoms] until the plane, ” Shanahan said when asked if the sneak could have led to the issue. “I don’t know exactly, but I’d probably guess that.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023

Darnold has appeared in four games this season for the 49ers and has one completion for 1 yard.

He hasn’t started since last year with Carolina when he played in the team’s final six games of the season, going 4-2.

In 60 games (55 starts) in his career, the No. 3 pick of the Jets in 2018 has completed 59.7 percent of his passes and thrown for 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions.

The Jets gave up on Darnold after three unimpressive seasons, trading him to the Panthers in 2021 before selecting Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall in that year’s draft.