San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is itching to get back onto the football field, and had it been up to him, might have already done so following his knee and ankle injuries suffered during Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Instead, Kittle has had to watch from the box suites as his teammates battled opponents these past two games.

Kittle on Thursday took a big step toward getting back on the football field. He took part in a practice for the first time since his injuries, albeit in a blue non-contact jersey. Still, it is progress.

The tight end knows the decision to play isn't up to him. He's just doing everything he can to show the team he is ready to make an impact on Sundays again.

"I'm doing everything I can to be able to play on Sunday," Kittle told reporters after Thursday's practice. "Unfortunately, that falls on the doctors and Coach (Kyle) Shanahan, so whatever they decide, I'll do."

The 49ers are playing it safe with Kittle. They want him for the long haul, which includes any potential playoff games.


So how did his first practice back go?

"Oh, it went really well," Kittle responded. "It was definitely a great step in the right direction. It was really fun being back out there with all the guys.

"I definitely don't miss sitting in the training room all day. So definitely a good step in the right direction, and my goal is still Green Bay."

Kittle went on to say that it was great getting back on the field, even the practice field, with his teammates after weeks of being sidelined.

As for the injuries themselves, Shanahan has been unwilling to share too many of the details. Kittle isn't revealing much either. When asked on Thursday if it is his knee or ankle causing more issues, he responded, "Yes," and left it at that.

Kittle's injuries occurred early in that Week 9 matchup on Halloween night, but the tight end managed to continue playing despite the discomfort. He doesn't believe staying in the game impacted his recovery, though, and knew he would have to miss some time after that.

Shanahan has indicated that his tight end's status might be a game-day decision, as it has been the past two games. Kittle has just taken it one week at a time, and right now, is focused on returning Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.

"Every game is a big game," Kittle added, "but definitely an 8-2 Packers team coming in, definitely a battle for the NFC. It's definitely a massive game, and it's one I don't want to miss.

"I think last year, we let that one get away from us. But a new opportunity to get them in our house, and I'm just really looking forward to that because they're a great team, and I love watching Aaron Rodgers play."

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