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Johnson could start if Purdy can't play in 49ers-Seahawks

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As the 49ers begin preparations to face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, there is the distinct possibility they could turn to veteran quarterback Josh Johnson.

Rookie Brock Purdy sustained an oblique strain in the 49ers’ 35-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Purdy did not play the final 13 minutes of game action.

"I think it was a challenge for him, just talking to him and seeing him after the game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday during a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“I think he really toughed it out and did some real good things with it. I know he’s sore today. Hopefully the MRI will be good and it will give him a chance to play Thursday.”

The 49ers were awaiting the results of an MRI examination of the muscles that are integral to core control and rotation.

“I believe [the strain is] on his left side, but your oblique is a big muscle that goes across everything,” Shanahan said. “So when you throw, it’s your whole core. I feel like it’s not good either way.”

Purdy is believed to have sustained the injury on the 49ers’ second drive of the game when he made a third-down dive along the sideline. The play was nullified by a holding penalty.


“I believe that’s when he felt it, and it got worse on him throughout the game,” Shanahan said.

If Purdy is unable to play Thursday night in Seattle, the 49ers will turn to Johnson, 36, who has just nine career starts since entering the NFL in 2009 with the Buccaneers.

Johnson saw his first regular-season action as a member of the 49ers on Sunday -- one week after agreeing to leave the Denver Broncos’ practice squad for a spot as Purdy’s backup. Johnson played 11 snaps, and completed one of two pass attempts for 10 yards. His completion went for rookie Danny Gray’s first career reception.

RELATED: Purdy conjures memories of another 49ers rookie's starting debut

Shanahan said Johnson will be as ready as possible if he is called upon to play this week.

“That’s one of the reasons we brought him here because Josh is really good at picking things up,” Shanahan said. “We just put him in the game for the whole quarter, where he had to handle the jet sweep, timing of motions and things like that.

“Those weren’t very normal formations and runs. So he can go in and have a real good command of the offense.”

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