SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy is set to resume shooting next week and the 49ers are optimistic he will be healthy enough after elbow surgery. in the offseason to start the season as a starter.

Purdy was on the field watching his teammates Tuesday in the Niners’ first open practice of the offseason as he recovers from the injury sustained in last season’s NFC championship game.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Purdy can start throwing a football next week for the first time since undergoing surgery on March 10 and should be ready to practice at training camp and play when the season starts on September 10 in Pittsburgh.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) walks down the field during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Godofredo A Vasquez)

“We are looking forward to Week 1 and I feel pretty optimistic about it,” Shanahan said. “That is what we are waiting for. …Usually, that doesn’t mean that’s the day I return. Usually you have to come back before that to score that goal, and that’s the goal we’re looking forward to. I have no reason to think differently.”

Purdy said his arm feels good nearly three months into his rehab and he hopes to resume a pitching schedule next week, about a week ahead of initial projections.

But he’s not ready to make any predictions about his return to gaming action.

“To say that I’m going to be ready for this moment or this time, we’re not trying to label any kind of timeline like that. It’s a goal for sure,” he said about playing the first game. “You want to be ready for the season. If that’s the case, great.”

Purdy tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in the first series of a 31-7 loss in the NFC title game against Philadelphia on January 29.

He had to wait over a month for surgery due to swelling in his elbow and has now been dealing with the grueling process of rehabilitation and the unknowns surrounding his recovery.

“It’s the first time I’ve gone through rehabilitation from surgery and all that,” he said. “It’s the off-season, so it’s okay, do practice and everything, do it again. But then once you see guys starting a practice and stuff like that and watching it’s like, man, you sure want to be out there. That’s just the competitive side of it. But I can still watch the movie, be in the meetings, learn and grow.”

Purdy went from the last pick in the draft to the starter in the conference title game in an impressive rookie season for the 49ers. He won his first seven starts before losing to Philadelphia in the conference title game.

Purdy passed for 1,374 yards with 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions in the regular season and his passer rating of 108 in the regular season and playoffs was the highest for a rookie with at least 200 passes.

That performance led GM John Lynch to call him the “leader in the clubhouse” in terms of starting, even though San Francisco had made a big investment when the Niners traded to draft Trey Lance third overall in 2021.

Purdy said it would be “foolish” to make too much of those comments when there is so much work to be done.

“We want to win a Super Bowl here, and it’s that simple,” he said. “So for me, I just do my job and everything else falls into place. I just try to be present. I’m not trying to get caught up in rumors or what people say or anything like that. The fact that they say that, I sure appreciate it.”

Lance spent most of his rookie season on the bench and suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 last season, but is healthy now.

With Purdy only a spectator, Lance has bought time with the first-team offense in the first two days of practice with the acquisition of free agent Sam Darnold working with the second team.