Hard hit by injuries since the start of the season, the San Francisco 49ers will benefit from the return to play of star tight end George Kittle on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals.
After the team’s training session on Thursday, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that Kittle’s name will be removed from the injured list ahead of the duel with the Cardinals. It will be Kittle’s first game since sustaining a broken foot on 1er November against the Seattle Seahawks.
Kittle was given the green light from medics last week, but the 49ers have opted for caution and decided to wait before inserting him into their roster.
Kittle said it had been difficult for him to stay in shape because coronavirus protocols prevented him from using training devices installed at indoor sports complexes. He was also able to start running again only a few weeks ago.
Kittle is one of many 49ers (5-9) to have missed multiple games this season, significantly reducing the team’s chances of making the playoffs after making the Super Bowl last year.
Kittle, an all-star player in 2019, missed two games earlier this season with a knee injury, and six more after his broken foot.
But even though the 49ers are already out for the next playoffs, Kittle wanted to come back for the last two games on the schedule.
“I’m doing really well,” Kittle said Thursday.
“I am excited to be back on the pitch. I miss football. Being inactive for six weeks is not a very pleasant thing. I expect to play soccer on Saturday. ”
Kittle set the league record for a tight end in 2018, passing 1,377 yards. He followed it up in 2019 with another successful season, with 85 catches for 1,053 yards in 14 games.
That year, he was named to the all-star roster while leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
In six games this season, Kittle has caught 37 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns. He had his best performance in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, with 15 catches for gains of 183 yards.
The 49ers will come to the game against the Cardinals with their third quarterback, CJ Beathard. He will be making his first start since 2018.
Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and substitute Nick Mullens will both be sidelined with injuries.
The 49ers will also be without Raheem Mostert, their best running back, and Deebo Samuel, their number one winger.