Listed as doubtful for Week 5, George Kittle is now certain to miss Trey Lance‘s starting debut and at least the following two games. The 49ers’ All-Pro tight end will head to IR, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.
Kittle is battling a calf injury, and although he played through the ailment against the Seahawks, he did not practice this week. The 49ers hope Kittle will be ready to go when he is first eligible to come off IR in Week 8.
This represents a blow for the 49ers offense and continues both a bad injury stretch for Kittle and the team. Kittle suffered a knee sprain and a fractured foot last season, which halted the star tight end’s progress after he had strung together back-to-back Pro Bowl slates. Although it is early, Kittle has run into extensive health trouble since signing his big-ticket extension last year.
In 2018, Kittle broke the tight end receiving-yardage record by breaking through with a dominant 1,377-yard campaign. The former fifth-round pick did so despite Jimmy Garoppolo missing most of that season. With Garoppolo back in the fold in 2019, Kittle played an essential role in the 49ers’ run to Super Bowl LIV by totaling 1,053 yards and five touchdowns.
After signing Jordan Reed last year, the 49ers have less experienced backups to fill in for Kittle going forward. Ross Dwelley and 2020 sixth-round pick Charlie Woerner reside as the other tight ends on San Francisco’s roster.