On Wednesday, the media made it seem as if San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle’s leg was amputated. We are allowed to watch the first 15 minutes of practice before team drills and nothing more. So when you see these practice videos and drill work, there’s not much to take away from it. The media has full access during the offseason and in training camp, but not during the season. So there’s a lot of conjecture based on what goes on during the first 15-20 minutes of practice.
Mr. 49er himself Matt Maiocco tweeted out, “Kittle was not on the field for the early portion of practice. We’ll see what’s up in an hour or so.” For the next 60 minutes, it was complete panic on the internet. There are a lot of 49ers fans that are nervous leading up to the NFC Championship, which I understand considering the magnitude of the game, but come on. It’s Kittle. Kittle was lively and chipper in the locker room prior to practice. As the time passed, news came out that Kittle was dealing with ankle soreness from the divisional round playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.
49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk was on Good Morning Football on Thursday, and discussed Kittle:
“You mentioned the whole WWE superstar, so, he likes his theatrics, he likes to get the media going. Keep people on edge,” Juszczyk said. “I don’t think we have to worry about George not being out there. I really don’t think there is anything that could keep him from playing.”
Shanahan admitted that the team wasn’t careful enough with Dee Ford. He’s not going to make the same mistake with his best player. My initial thought was, “Precautionary, smart, he doesn’t have to practice.” This isn’t August. The players aren’t going head-to-head in full contact. It’s more about mental reps at this stage of the season.
“George has been phenomenal; the guy’s just an absolute superstar. Arguably, the best player in the NFL when the ball is in his hands. But a guy that also embraces doing the little things. Love being physical. Loves blocking. And just his energy, man, his energy gets all of us going...He’s the best, he gets all of us fired up, and he makes us a better team.”
This is the biggest game in his life. Also, the type of extensive treatment these guys go through cannot be undersold. Wednesday’s soreness could be long gone by the time the 49ers take the field. Kittle will play and look like Kittle.
Kyle Shanahan said during his media availability on Thursday that Kittle will be full-go today at practice. We’re good.