Sunday’s implosion in Chicago was a reminder of George Kittle’s value, not that one was needed. The All-Pro missed out with a groin injury, and in a mudder, following Elijah Mitchell’s knee injury the 49ers’ run game stalled in the second half.
Trey Lance accounted for 33 of the 49ers’ 61 yards in the second half, as Jeff Wilson Jr. finished with nine carries for just 22 yards.
While Kittle is also a major threat in the pass game, his impact in the run game was missed most prominently.
Kyle Shanahan said Monday that the team decided “pretty early” on Saturday night that Kittle would not play. He provided a more significant update on him on Wednesday.
While neither Kittle nor Daniel Brunskill practiced, signs are good for Kittle.
“He’s made a lot of progress,” Shanahan said. “So hopefully we’ll have him back going this week.”
Brunskill’s outlook is less promising.
Shanahan revealed that he sustained a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. His initial timeline set him up to return around the season opener. It sounds like he may practice for the first time this week.
“He’s closer than he was last week,” Shanahan said. “He did have a setback a little bit ago. So we were thinking he’d be ready for week one and he had that setback, so hopefully later in this week. But I’m not sure yet. Not good right now.”
The only other injuries from the game were Elijah Mitchell, who was wearing a knee brace on Wednesday, and is expected out for approximately eight weeks with an MCL sprain, and Javon Kinlaw, with a minor ankle sprain.
Shanahan said he wasn’t concerned about Kinlaw’s ankle injury on Monday.
The team also placed Jordan Willis on injured reserve, as he’ll get a “cleanup” on his knee. He can return after four weeks, and was replaced by Kemoko Turay, promoted from the practice squad.