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49ers in Five: Javon Kinlaw’s knee injury could be an issue all year

Everything you need to know in about five minutes

Javon Kinlaw missed practice again yesterday, and Kyle Shanahan was asked whether his knee is going that requires maintenance all season long or if the injury was something he could get over. Unfortunately, the answer wasn’t exactly encouraging:

“We’re not sure. That’s why we’re trying to take it slow with him. And when we have it’s gotten better. So, we’ve got to see how that continues to react. I think we’ll be easy with him today. Hopefully if it continues to go well today, he’ll get out there more tomorrow. When he hurt his knee in Dallas last year, it was a pretty bad injury that he ended up going on IR for. He got it cleaned up, but it still hasn’t healed quite as right as we want. So, it seems like when he’s gone, it’s started to affect him. So, hopefully taking it easy these last 10 days or so, it’ll start to get better and we’ll see how it goes day to day.”

Kinlaw’s presence was definitely noticeable on Sunday when the Lions gashed the 49ers for multiple explosive runs right up Javon’s territory in the middle of the defense. Of course, we’d all love to see Kinlaw take the next step as a player and become a pass rusher, but his consistent clogging of running lanes and the fact that he’s just a huge freakin’ guy are often under-appreciated.

Hopefully, he can heal up and get back on the field soon because he could be the difference between a very good defense and a great defense.

For more on Kinlaw’s health, as well as an encouraging comment about the development of Jimmy Garoppolo, listen to today’s 49ers in Five Podcast - available on all major podcast platforms.