Any time George Kittle makes an appearance on the injury report, 49ers fans become concerned. Rightfully so, as when healthy, Kittle is one of the most dangerous tight ends in the NFL.
Sure enough, Kittle has missed two consecutive days of practice with a calf issue. General manager John Lynch doesn’t sound too nervous about Kittle potentially missing Sunday’s big showdown with the Seattle Seahawks, but did explain that the star is banged up.
“With George, you guys see it, I think we all see it. He pours so much into each and every play, and he plays a lot,” Lynch said Thursday on KNBR. “I think the combination of that, at times, he sells out. He’s got a calf that’s a little tight, and he’s working through that.
“But George usually rings the bell and shows up, and you can’t take that for granted. We’re hopeful that we have him, and we certainly need him. He’s a tremendous player, as we saw the other night and have seen so many times.”
Kittle caught a season-high seven of his nine targets for 92 yards in the 49ers’ Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Unlike the tight end position, the 49ers have a number of reliable running backs they feel comfortable being the lead guy in the offense. The only problem is, the entire unit has been decimated by injuries so far this season.
Rookie Elijah Mitchell got 17 or more carries in each of the 49ers’ first two games this season, but was sidelined in Week 3 with a shoulder injury.
Lynch said Mitchell is a tough kid and is making progress, but explained that the shoulder caused the sixth-round draft pick a lot of pain.
“Elijah did a little bit more today, so trending in the right direction I just don’t know, he’s got the shoulder thing that he is working through and he is a tough kid, he provides something for us so that would be great,” Lynch said.
Trey Sermon also has looked much improved at practice according to Lynch, after being inactive for the 49ers’ opener and seeing just one carry before going down with a concussion in Week 2.
Both Kittle and Mitchell being available for Sunday’s game would help Jimmy Garoppolo immensely, as the 49ers’ offense struggled to get going against the Packers a week ago.
There still are two full days before the 49ers take on the Seahawks, so Lynch and the coaching staff will be hoping the two skill players can heal up and suit up for a rivalry game with divisional implications.