The George Kittle kool-aid is going to be shotgunned in mass quantities here at Niners Nation for at least a little while. He may have the record, but his legend has not stopped growing.
ESPN’s Nick Wagoner reports that Kittle played the second half of the season with a cracked rib. The injury in question was suffered during the Oakland Raiders game in Week 9 and Kittle wore some large padded rib protectors for the rest of the season.
I went through the injury reports after the Raiders game to see if there was anything listed to hint at such. Kittle is on the report for Week 10 against the New York Giants (the game following the Raiders) with a chest issue and that could be the cracked rib. Following Week 10, Kittle doesn’t hit the injury report for a chest or rib issue I could find. After the Giants, the 49ers hit their bye, which gave Kittle a week to recover so maybe that got the pain to go down a bit.
If he was playing with a cracked rib for the entire second half of the season, I wouldn’t want to switch places with him. Cracked ribs are obnoxious annoyances at best and radiate excruciating pain at worse. Just turning over to sleep can be a dreadful experience for those that suffer from it. That said, the injury can be different for everybody and from the sounds of it, Kittle got a less severe version perhaps. I just wouldn’t want to be him with someone slams a shoulder pad into his chest/side it’s got to hurt.
There hasn’t been any indication if this rib is a larger issue as Kyle Shanahan never mentioned it in his final set of press conferences and Kittle himself never said anything of the sort. Right now it’s just another tale to tell at campfires years from now when discussing the legend of George Kittle
Best tight end in football indeed.