Joe Montana had in-season surgery for the second time in October 1991, to reattach the common flexor tendon of his right elbow bone. The tendon was partially torn in training camp, then fully torn in early October when Montana was testing it after seven weeks of rest. He came back for one last 49ers game at the end of the 1992 season, against the Lions at home, but Montana’s 49er career was effectively over. During that October, one of his old teammates said Montana had already had at least 50 pain-killing injections in his right elbow.
Still, he did make a comeback. Mike Holmgren, the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in 1991, said: “I got here in 1986, and the first game in my first year, Joe went down with the back injury. I thought, I’ll never have a chance to coach Joe Montana now. Two months later he was back, and he’s given me five years. So there’s not a doubt in my mind he’ll be back.”