The good news from Thursday was that San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle was out on the practice field with his teammates for the first time since sustaining knee and ankle injuries during Week 9's win over the Arizona Cardinals. The bad news is that he was limited and in a blue non-contact jersey.

Still, it's progress, and Kittle looked as quick as ever in the minimal drills in which he took part.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan hopes to have his Pro Bowl tight end and the 49ers' leading receiver back for Sunday night's matchup against the Green Bay Packers, the first of three consecutive games against division-leading opponents.

Kittle, who remembers last year's missed opportunity to knock off the Packers at Lambeau Field, is eager to play in Sunday's matchup at Levi's Stadium.

"Every game is a big game," Kittle said on Thursday, "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."

Joining Kittle on the practice field on Thursday were wide receivers Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and Emmanuel Sanders (ribs). Neither practiced the day before. Samuel was also in a blue non-contact jersey.

None of the three players are expected to get in a full practice this week and could all be game-day decisions.

"George actually got to do a little bit today (Thursday)," Shanahan said Thursday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" show. "He came out for walkthrough and did the first part of individuals. It's the first time he's been limited in a while, so that was exciting.

"Deebo got to do the same stuff. The same with Emmanuel. None of them can practice yet, and I would be very surprised if they can practice tomorrow, but hopefully, they'll be able to play on Sunday."

Kittle has already missed two games and hopes to rejoin his teammates against Green Bay. The decision, however, won't be his.

"I'm doing everything I can to be able to play on Sunday," Kittle said. "Unfortunately, that falls on the doctors and Coach Shanahan, so whatever they decide, I'll do."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.