George Kittle

San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch said that tight end George Kittle could play Sunday regardless of his practice status, but it might be a game-time decision.

Kittle missed the season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears with a groin strain, which he suffered Sept. 5. He has not practiced since then, heading into Friday’s afternoon session. That’s not the best scenario regarding his availability for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, and Pro Football Network reported Friday morning that Kittle is not expected to play, citing league sources.

Yet Lynch told San Francisco’s KNBR radio Friday that Kittle might still play, even with no practice.

“He’s getting better; George is, and he’s working really diligently to do so,” Lynch said, via “I said last week, and this wasn’t playing games, it’s just the truth — with a player like George, you wait right up to game time, and you rely on your medical team, your health and performance team.

“This is a long season, but every game takes on great [importance], especially the division ones. So we’re going to hold out hope that George is ready. We’ll see if we get him out here today. I think that’s critical. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s probably not looking good. But George is a type of player that you even wait until Sunday.”

Lynch said the decision could come “right down to the wire,” i.e. the dreaded “game-time decision.”

“I did that many times in my career, where you don’t practice all week, you find a way to go test it before the game,” said Lynch, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star. “So I think it’s going to go right down to the wire. He is improving, though, and we just want to make sure we have a healthy Kittle for the entirety of the season moving forward.”

The 49ers could certainly use Kittle. Starting running back Elijah Mitchell is already out after going on the IR this week with a sprained MCL. Kittle hauled in 71 catches for 910 yards and six touchdowns last season.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.