Friday update: George Kittle is back at practice in Week 15, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said he will not be playing this Sunday.
Thursday AM update: Kyle Shanahan was asked about getting Kittle back on the field and if it would only happen if the 49ers were going to the playoffs. He offered this comment, via Matt Maiocco.
“I’m not saying for sure no,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “If I thought it would help him and I thought it would help our team, definitely. I mean, there’s more things to it than just making the playoffs. Obviously, that’s the number one thing, but it would have to do with what George, if he’s risking anything, then it’d be an easy decision. We wouldn’t even think about it, but if he could 100-percent come back and be normal, then that’s something I’ll talk to him about, talk to John [Lynch] about it and we’ll figure out what’s best for him and the team.”
Wednesday update: The 49ers announced they have opened the practice window for George Kittle. He is still on injured reserve, but they can activate him off the list anytime in the next 21 days. He will not appear on the practice report, so we will not know his status until the team formally activates him off IR.
The San Francisco 49ers will return to practice on Wednesday to open Week 15, and head coach Kyle Shanahan is hoping to have tight end George Kittle back. Shanahan told the media on Monday that he hopes to get Kittle back this week while Jimmy Garoppolo will remain sidelined for the time being.
Kittle has been sidelined since suffering a broken foot in Week 8. Both he and Garoppolo are eligible to return to practice. Once they return from IR to practice, the team has 21 days to get them back to the active roster. Given where we’re at in the season, they could pretty much run this down to the wire.
Earlier this month, Shanahan said he was holding out hope for getting Kittle and Garoppolo back during the final two weeks of the season. It is still possible, which would be a huge deal for fantasy football managers that have Kittle sitting on their bench or in an IR slot. However, in the time since then, the 49ers have lost two straight and now sit at 5-8 and two games back of the final wild card spot with three weeks remaining. If they’re eliminated from playoff contention, the team might decide to shut down Kittle and Garoppolo rather than risk aggravating their injuries in meaningless games.