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Kyle Shanahan would be surprised if George Kittle doesn’t play in 49ers-Broncos

Sep 23, 2022 at 7:27 AM--

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Get ready for tight end George Kittle's 2022 season debut. He's likely to be on the field with his teammates on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.

"I'd be surprised if he doesn't play," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "We can't say for sure yet but he's been good in these two days of practice. Should be good today, and if we don't have any setbacks, he should be playing."

Friday's typically lighter practice is the last before the 49ers board a plane for Denver.

"Any time you add one of your better players out there, it helps in every area," Shanahan added. "George is really good in the run game, and he's good in the pass game, so you've got a better blocker out there, and you've got more explosiveness at the tight end position.

"So we'll see where he's at, but I think everyone knows how good of a player George is in this league when he's healthy, and we've just got to get him back to [being healthy], and hopefully, we can keep it that way."

On Thursday, Kittle was talking to reporters as if he expected to play and as though he had put his groin injury behind him. He admitted to being anxious to get back on the field after being a sideline observer during the first two games.

"That's what Sunday Night Football is for," Kittle said. "Just going to go out there and let it all out there. It will be really fun."

Kittle suffered his injury on September 5, finally returning to practice a week ago. This week, he has been a limited participant in the team's first two practices.

Shanahan added that there isn't an update on defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who suffered a foot injury against the Seattle Seahawks and hasn't practiced this week.

"Hopefully, he'll get in a little bit today," Shanahan said. "He hasn't been able to go this week yet, so I'm not sure, but it's still early today on Friday. So I'm hoping when he gets in here, he'll be good enough to get a little today in practice, but it's usually half speed today anyways for the D-linemen. ... But if he's out there, I know that's a better sign than him not being able to go."

The 49ers and Broncos kick off on Sunday at 5:20 p.m. PT (6:20 p.m. MT).

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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