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49ers activate Wishnowsky off COVID list for game vs. Texans

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The 49ers will not be forced to turn to a replacement punter, as Mitch Wishnowsky was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Wishnowsky's removal from the COVID list was one of several moves the 49ers made on Saturday that will have an impact on the team's roster for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium.

The 49ers promoted tight end Tanner Hudson from the practice squad to the team's 53-man roster. Also, the 49ers activated linebackers Mark Nzeocha and Curtis Robinson from the practice squad (standard elevations).

The club waived running back Brian Hill.

Wishnowsky, Hudson, Nzeocha and Robinson will be in uniform to assist the 49ers on special teams. Nzeocha appeared in 47 games for the 49ers from 2017 to 2020 as one of the team's core special-teams players. He has not played in an NFL game this season.

The 49ers control their own destiny with two games remaining in the regular season. They would wrap up a playoff spot with victories over the Texans and Los Angeles Rams to close out the season. They could clinch as early as Sunday with a victory over Houston and a New Orleans loss to Carolina.

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance is expected to start Sunday against the Texans. The 49ers elevated quarterback Nate Sudfeld from the practice squad on Friday to likely serve in a backup role.


Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as doubtful with a torn ligament in his right thumb.

None of the 11 previous players the 49ers listed this season as doubtful on the final status report were ever active for that game. 

After Wishnowsky went on the COVID list, the 49ers signed former Denver Broncos punter Colby Wadman to the practice squad to be ready in case he were needed to fill in for Wishnowsky.

Wishnowsky ranks 13th in the NFL with a net average of 41.8 yards. The 49ers have allowed just 93 return yards on his 51 punts, including 14 fair catches.

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The 49ers listed linebackers Azeez Al-Shaair (knee) and Dre Greenlaw (groin), along with defensive lineman Maurice Hurst (calf) as out for Sunday's game.

In addition to Garoppolo, rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga (knee) is doubtful, while running back Elijah Mitchell is questionable.

Twenty-one of the 23 players the 49ers have listed as questionable ended up playing. Mitchell was listed as questionable before the 49ers' Week 4 game against Seattle but was declared inactive.

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