Tight end George Kittle hurt his knee early in the 49ers’ victory over the Cardinals last week, but returned to action and wound up with six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
But Kittle didn’t suit up for the team’s practices early this week, prompting doubts about his availability for Monday night’s NFC West showdown match with the Seattle Seahawks.
Yet the 49ers are being cautious with their top pass-catcher, and an MRI revealed no significant damage to the knee. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the injury may be “tough” on Kittle, but is optimistic Kittle will play Monday.
“I feel pretty good that it’s not going to be a longer-term thing and hopefully we’ll be able to get him back this week,” Shanahan said.
Kittle also has a reputation for working through injuries to get back on the field.
Said one anonymous teammate, to Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee: “He’s the toughest guy on our team.”
And, one of the most valuable.
Through eight games, Kittle has 46 catches for 541 yards and two scores. He’s actually on pace for more receptions (92) than he had in 2018 (88), when he made the Pro Bowl and set a single-season yards-receiving record for a tight end (1,377). This year, Kittle is on pace for 1,082 yards, and his yards-per-catch average is down to 11.8 from 15.6. But, he's still Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite target.
The 49ers, 8-0, host the 7-2 Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium Monday. Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m.