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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ George Kittle has sprained MCL and bone bruise but could return for Week 3

Sep 20, 2020 at 7:24 AM--

The 49ers will be without injured tight end George Kittle against the New York Jets this afternoon but are hopeful he'll be ready to play in time for next week's game against the New York Giants, according to reports from Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Both reporters weighed in on Kittle's status earlier this morning while also shedding some light on the nature of his injury, which occurred during the 49ers' Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Schefter wrote earlier this morning that Kittle has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his left knee "that would sideline most players for a few weeks" but is showing signs he could be ready to return sooner rather than later.

"The belief is that he will be ready to return for Week 3 against the New York Giants, a league source told ESPN," wrote Schefter. "An MRI on Monday revealed the damage to Kittle's MCL, but he was spotted around the Niners' training facility this past week walking without a limp, bolstering the belief -- and hope -- that he will be back for Week 3."

Rapoport said during a segment on the NFL Network that Kittle also has a bone bruise but that the 49ers are indeed hopeful he'll be available to play against the Giants next Sunday.

"My understanding is he's dealing with a bone bruise and a knee sprain," said Rapoport. "The last time he had this injury, very similar, he missed two games. The hope is that Kittle is back next week, but that is no guarantee. One thing you know -- if he can possibly get on the field, he certainly will."

Kittle did not travel with the team to New York this weekend, staying instead in the Bay Area to rehabilitate his injury. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Friday the team hopes Kittle will be able to join it next week in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, which is where it will be preparing for its Week 3 game against the Giants.

"If he's not going to play, it's much better to leave him here for a couple of days and let him get his rehab and everything," Shanahan said. "So we had to make that decision a little bit earlier today. That'll help him and benefit him and he'll meet us in West Virginia. Hopefully these two days staying here will help him, and hopefully he'll be ready to go next week."

The 49ers will be leaning on veterans Jordan Reed and Ross Dwelley as well as rookie Charlie Woerner to step up at the tight end position in Kittle's absence today. The 49ers (0-1) and Jets (0-1) are scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT.

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