The recovery time for Nick Mullens’ elbow injury has a much better outlook than originally expected.
The 49ers quarterback underwent successful elbow surgery in late December and should be fully recovered by the start of the 2021 training camp, NFL Media's Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday, citing a source. The injury did not require Tommy John surgery, as the damage was less than initially feared.
This falls in line with the six-month timeline NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers insider Matt Maiocco expected back in December for the quarterback’s recovery.
Originally, there was belief that the quarterback could miss the entire 2021 season, given the injury was to Mullens’ ulnar collateral ligament. That type of injury often requires Tommy John surgery, which is common among baseball players. Recovery from Tommy John often takes over a year.
Now, it appears Mullens may only miss OTAs.
Mullens injured the elbow on his throwing arm in Week 15 when he collided with Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. After the game, Mullens shared that he had tingling and then loss of feeling and grip in his throwing arm. He was unable to finish the game.
After spending three seasons with the 49ers, Mullens is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the league year in March, which means the 49ers will be allowed to match any offer the quarterback receives from another club.
Mullens started eight games for the 49ers and appeared in 10 for the 49ers in 2020, getting playing time due to Jimmy Garoppolo's multiple ankle injuries. Mullens completed 211 of his 326 attempts (64.7 percent) for 2,427 yards and 12 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He also fumbled the ball six times.
Position mate C.J. Beathard will become an unrestricted free agent, leaving Garoppolo as the only quarterback set to be under contract by the 49ers at the start of the league year.