SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As he prepares to return to the scene of the elbow injury that led to offseason surgery and a lengthy rehab, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy isn't thinking about how far he's come since that fateful day in Philadelphia.
"Am I going to go in there and get all sentimental about, 'I've come a long way since?' It's not really like that," Purdy said. "Am I going to go into the game saying I want revenge and all this kind of stuff? It's not like that [either]. So, I'm just going to try to go do my job and be the best Brock that I can be for this team."
Purdy and the Niners will head to Philadelphia on Friday for Sunday's NFC Championship Game rematch against the Eagles. San Francisco has not been back at Lincoln Financial Field since Jan. 29, the day that the Eagles knocked Purdy from the game in the first quarter with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and cruised to a 31-7 victory.
That injury threw the Niners' quarterback situation into flux. Veteran Josh Johnson replaced Purdy but departed after suffering a concussion early in the third quarter. That forced Purdy, who was unable to throw the ball more than a few yards, back into the game.
From there, Purdy had to wait for the swelling in his elbow to go down before undergoing a UCL repair with InternalBrace in March with an eye toward returning for training camp. Purdy was cleared to participate in two out of three practices early in camp but was fully cleared in time to start the season.
Now, Purdy and the Niners are going back for another big game in Philadelphia, albeit one lacking the stakes of that January meeting.
"I got hurt there and everything, but for me it's week 13," Purdy said. "We're going on the road in a hostile environment. We're late in season, so every game is obviously big for us. And so that's where I'm at with my mindset. It's a new year, two new teams, slightly different in different ways. So that's how I look at it."
Purdy enters this rematch with far more experience than the last time. He's started every game this season and, including the playoffs, has 19 career starts. In that time, Purdy has improved from where he was as a rookie.
Through 11 games, Purdy leads the NFL in QBR (75.6), yards per attempt (9.4) and completion percentage (70.2%) while throwing for 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. Purdy's production has been integral in San Francisco's 8-3 start and has the Niners in position to return to the postseason and, if they win on Sunday, close the gap on the Eagles for the NFC's No. 1 seed.
All of which is why the 49ers say Purdy will be his usual self in Philadelphia.
"I think the first game, the first hit, things like that they're a little bit vulnerable to with post-traumatic stress," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "But I think once they get through that stuff, I think it's over for the most part."
One thing Purdy and the Niners are aware of this week is a forecast that is calling for rain on Sunday afternoon. San Francisco has played in only one rain game this season, a Week 6 loss to the Cleveland Browns in which Purdy had the worst outing of his career as the rain started and stopped at various points in the game.
If there is heavy rain in Sunday's game, Purdy said he plans to wear a glove on his throwing hand, something he did at Iowa State but has yet to do in the NFL.
"If it's a downpour rain, putting on a glove, I think for me at least, sort of just helps," Purdy said. "Obviously a little bit more tack on the ball and whatnot. If it's a light rain, I don't know if that's necessarily a necessity. I feel like I can grip the ball just as fine with or without a glove with a light rain."
Of course, Purdy has not been the only Niner asked about what happened in January this week. Following that loss, the Niners expressed disappointment that they didn't get a chance to see how they could have fared with a healthy Purdy. That resulted in something of a war of words with the Eagles as the questions persisted through the early part of the offseason.
But neither the 49ers nor the Eagles seem much interested in reengaging in those discussions.
"You guys tend to make things a little bit bigger than they are," tight end George Kittle said. "It's a Week 13 game. It's against the Philadelphia Eagles. They're the 1 seed, we're fighting for potential seeding. That's all big. And I 100 percent agree with you guys there. I don't think it really has anything to do with last year. It's a different game. And I'm not really holding onto anything that happened last year. It was a football game. We lost. Get better and figure out a way to win."
That refrain from the 49ers' locker room is also colored by the possibility that these teams that are currently sitting in the top two positions in the NFC playoffs could meet again with another Super Bowl trip on the line.
"I'm pretty sure people thought about it," left tackle Trent Williams said. "And I'm pretty sure if both the teams do what we anticipate doing and what we set out to do, chances are we could [meet again]."