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49ers activate Jimmy Garoppolo practice window with Nick Mullens out due to elbow injury

The 49ers QB room is a mess, but Jimmy Garoppolo could be returning sooner than later.

San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo (10), center, C.J. Beathard (3), left, and Nick Mullens (4), right, during San Francisco 49ers training camp at SAP Performance Facility on July 29, 2019 in Santa Clara, CA. Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have a whole lot going on in their quarterback room headed into Week 16. Current starter Nick Mullens suffered an elbow injury that is expected to require surgery on a ligament, per Matt Maiocco. Additionally, Josh Johnson is headed to the COVID-19 injured reserve list, and oh yea, the team activated Jimmy Garoppolo’s practice window.

The 49ers have 21 days to return Garoppolo to the 53-man roster, but given that there are only two games left and the 49ers are not going to the playoffs, that will not create a crunch. However, the Mullens injury and Johnson’s COVID-19 status will require some adjustments.

C.J. Beathard is slated to start on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals. Garoppolo could be activated by then, but it seems unlikely given Tuesday will be his first practice in over six weeks. Jerick McKinnon is the emergency QB, per Eric Branch, but unless Garoppolo is activated for Saturday, we can expect the 49ers to add a quarterback to the roster.

The 49ers would have to add such a QB from another team’s practice squad due to the COVID-19 protocols. A free agent would not have time to get through the protocol by Saturday, but a recent change means a practice squad QB from another team could join the roster immediately.