SANTA CLARA, California. — San Francisco 49ers are officially out of the post-season, but that won’t stop George Kittle from coming back for Saturday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The 49ers plan to activate Kittle from the injured reserve within the next 24 hours, allowing him to play for the first time since he was injured in week one at the Seattle Seahawks. November suffered a fracture of the cubic bone in her right foot.
He looked very good this week, Coach Kyle Shanahan said. I just talked to him, he told me he’s feeling good here after practice, so I’m expecting him to go.
The conversation was apparently short-lived as Kittle made it clear he wanted to come back despite the fact that the 5-9 Niners have barely had a chance to play in the last two weeks.
He asked me if I wanted to play and I said yes: Yeah, Kittle said that. And he said: Sounds good. That was our conversation.
Kittle missed the last six games because of a foot injury. The Niners fell at the end of the season and went 1-5 without him. He also missed two games due to a knee injury in the first week.
In his six games this year, Kittle had 37 receptions for 474 yards and two touchdowns. But Kittle’s injury problems, combined with the team’s disappointing performance after the Super Bowl, motivated him enough to come back this season.
Fault! The file name is not specified. George Kittle has missed the last six games due to a foot injury. The 49ers went from one to five without him. Kelly L Cox/USA Sports Today
That’s why I’m going back, because I have a very bitter taste in my mouth, Kittle said. I hate losing soccer games, and I hate not playing at a high level, so it’s no fun getting injured. The fact that I have two chances, especially against the opponents of the division, allows me to let them know that I am still here and that I will be here for a few more years. I’m really looking forward to playing in the next few weeks.
In his view, Shanahan has made it clear that he believes it is important for healthy players to play in order to set the standard for what he expects from the franchise.
He’s probably one of the healthiest men we have right now, Shanahan said. He has had a good two weeks of training and feels good after that. We wouldn’t have sent him back at all if there was a risk of relapse or if he hadn’t recovered. But we’ve got a lot of guys, and every time they come out, everybody’s got something for them. Whether you have two more games and you’re not in the playoffs or it’s the first game of the year, these guys are doing it.
If they’re healthy enough to do it, that’s what you do on our team.
Although Kittle is back against Arizona, according to Shanahan, he won’t have his usual workload.
He’s in great shape and very healthy, but he hasn’t played football here in a while, so we have to be smart about that, Shanahan says. We don’t expect him to go out and take 95% of the shots like he usually does. We’ll treat him wisely. Let’s see how it turns out. I know he’s excited to go play. I know our team is excited to welcome him, but it won’t be his usual thing.
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