The San Francisco 49ers hope that star tight end George Kittle will return to practice Monday after sitting out this week because of a “lingering” groin injury.
“We’re just taking care of him right now,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Thursday. “It’s still stuff lingering a little bit from when he has missed some time. … (Hopefully) we can get him going on Monday.”
The 49ers open the season Sept. 10 at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kittle, whose history of injuries includes missing the first two games of the 2022 season because of a groin strain, played 12 snaps in the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers on Aug. 25. Kittle hasn’t played a full season since 2018.
“There’s always concern when something persists, and this has kind of lingered,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said on KNBR. “George usually has about one of these things a year, and when he gets through it, he’s good. Knock on wood that’s the case.”
Lynch used the team’s term “de-load” to talk about cutting back on activity for individual players. Kittle has missed practice time during training camp in addition to limited action in the preseason games.
“The great thing about George is he attacks it,” Lynch said. “Man, we miss him when he’s not on the field, not only because of his ability, but the energy he brings, so there has been a little void here the last few days, but we’re trying to get him right. He’s another guy with a ‘de-load’ week. We want him right, we want it all-load for Pittsburgh.”
Kittle, 29, had 60 catches for 765 yards with a career-best 11 touchdowns in 15 games (all starts) last season.
An All-Pro in 2019 and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Kittle has totaled 395 receptions for 5,254 yards with 31 touchdowns in 82 career games (74 starts) with the 49ers.
The 49ers selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Iowa.
—Field Level Media