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Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

49ers TE George Kittle’s injury situation ‘not good,’ according to report

Sep 8, 2022 at 1:04 PM--

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If the latest report from Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network is any indication, then 49ers tight end George Kittle may want to stay on the sidelines for Sunday's season opener against the Chicago Bears, and perhaps a little longer.

Wilson shared some news on Kittle's groin injury Thursday afternoon, citing "league sources not authorized to speak publicly." Wilson stated that one source told him Kittle's injury is "not good", while another informed him Kittle has a Grade 2 strain that is limiting his speed.

"One of the top tight ends in the game and well known for his toughness, Kittle wouldn't shock anyone if he opted to play through the injury," Wilson wrote. "Nonetheless, his chances of playing nearly the entire season are considered much more likely if he sits out the season opener and doesn't further aggravate the injury."

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Kittle's groin started bothering him on Monday, and as of Wednesday's practice Kittle's status for Sunday's game was uncertain. Kittle was listed as a non-participant in Wednesday's practice on the 49ers injury report.

Kittle's absence would leave Trey Lance without one of his top offensive weapons entering into his third NFL start and his first as the 49ers' No. 1 quarterback. The 49ers would turn to Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner, and Tyler Kroft at tight end in Kittle's absence. Now in his eighth NFL season, Kroft is new to the 49ers in 2022 after spending 2021 with the New York Jets.

"We've been a fan of Kroft his whole career," Shanahan told reporters Wednesday. "I was a real big fan of him coming out of college. And he's done well everywhere he's been. He had some injury trouble last year, I think the last couple years he's struggled to stay out there. I think that's one of the reasons we were able to get him. But Kroft, he's an NFL tight end. We feel very fortunate to have him here."

Kittle was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his NFL career in 2021 after catching 71 passes for 910 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. He missed time with a calf injury last season after being limited to eight games due to knee and foot injuries in 2020.

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