George Kittle's 1,377 receiving yards off of 88 catches in 2018 set a single-season record for NFL tight ends. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl and was the only San Francisco 49ers player to be named an All-Pro (second team) for his efforts this past season.

Oh, and he accomplished all of that while dealing with a cracked rib for much of the season.

If you noticed that Kittle looked a little heavier toward the end of the season compared to the beginning, it was because he played through the injury with the help of large padded rib protectors, according to this little tidbit from Nick Wagoner of ESPN on December 31.


As Wagoner points out, the injury occurred during the 49ers' Week 9 victory over the Oakland Raiders at Levi's Stadium.

Kittle did appear on team issued injury reports during the following week but was listed with a chest injury. He did not appear on an injury report for the remainder of the season nor did he miss any further practice time.

Kittle dealt with several injuries during his rookie campaign in 2017, including hamstring, calf, hip, chest, back, elbow, and ankle injuries. The high-ankle injury was his most restricting during the season because it prevented him from properly planting his foot.

"He's been able to stay healthier this year which is a complete credit to him, how he's taken care of his body," head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Kittle on December 21. "It's allowed him to play fully to his ability. It was cool that everyone could see the results. He's not going to be the same next year. He's going to be better or worse so I hope he still continues to keep working."