Neither Jim Tomsula nor Daniel Kilgore put expectations on when the center might return to game action for the San Francisco 49ers.
But now the clock is ticking.
Kilgore took part in the team's Monday walkthrough and will have three weeks to be moved from the Physically Unable to Perform List to the active, 53-man roster. If the offensive lineman isn't activated before the 21-day practice window expires, Kilgore will move onto the season-ending Injured Reserve List.
The center, who still has one plate and 12 screws in his leg, doesn't anticipate that being an issue. Kilgore told media on Monday that he feels like the injured leg is 100 percent and strong enough for full contact. Obviously his goal is to get on the field as soon as possible, but Kilgore said that the home game against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12 might be a reasonable target return date.
"I'm going to be real with myself and truthful with myself, so maybe not this week (against the Seattle Seahawks), but maybe next week," Kilgore said. "We'll go out here and see how it feels. The biggest thing for me is the conditioning part. Everything feels stable and I'm going to go test it out."
The injury didn't hinder Kilgore's upper-body workouts, but it did limit his ability to keep his legs in football shape. Much of his recent lower-body activity has been pushing sleds and simulating blocking technique.
Strength-wise, Kilgore said he's back to where he was pre-injury, as evidenced by a 500-pound squat during his Monday workout.
"I feel good about sustaining blocks and running with my blocks and finishing blocks," Kilgore said.
Kilgore added that the true test for his surgically-repaired leg will come when he faces a defensive lineman in live action for the first time
The lineman tabbed nose tackle Ian Williams as the player he's most excited to go against this week in practice.
"Ian and I have always had a friendly, competitive spirit," Kilgore said. "It's just going to be fun to go out there again and be with the guys and be with the huddle."
Kilgore joked that for all the excitement surrounding returning to the field, he's not looking forward to strapping on his helmet for the first time.
"That thing is going to hurt like crazy," the lineman said. "It's been a year since I've worn it. It's going to be good and exciting."