The San Francisco 49ers had a few players return from injury in Week 12’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers, but none bigger than tight end George Kittle. The all-everything tight end had been battling a bone bruise and hadn’t practiced until last Wednesday. Twenty-four days ago, Kittle had a “popped capsule” in his knee. After Sunday’s game, Shanahan put his doctor hat on and explained Kittle’s injury like only the head coach could.
Shanahan said Kittle’s injury was like when a piece of tree bark comes off a tree. He said, “it does not impact the stability of the tree, so Kittle could not injure himself any worse by returning to action.” That was after finding out Kittle broke his ankle on Halloween against the Cardinals.
“You’re able to go with it, but it’s extremely painful. So that was a choice he made in that game. We’ll make it for him if it’s not stable, but it’s stable he can go as long as he can if he can tolerate the pain. But the stuff he had in his knee, it was a popped capsule. That took a couple more weeks to heal up. Once that was healed, it was pain tolerance with the ankle.”
The majority of us reading this have called into work this year for far less. Kittle battling multiple injuries sheds an entirely new light on his toughness.
Kittle was asked about his bone chip injury, to which he said, “It’s football, it’s fine. It’s a mindset. You just go out and play football. That’s all it is.” Then, on if his knee or ankle injury caused more of an issue during his recovery, Kittle responded, “I think they both looked pretty good tonight.”
I’ll leave you with Mike McGlinchey quotes on Kittle:
“I think he’s one of the best if not the best player in the league. He’s somebody that I’ll be able to tell my kids about someday, that I played with that guy.”
Kittle finished with six receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, no 49ers suffered new injuries. That will be critical for this 49ers stretch run.