Fans were surprised when George Kittle's name popped up on the team's injury report this week. Unbeknownst, the tight end has been playing through a calf injury suffered in San Francisco's season opener in Detroit.
Since, Kittle was held out of practice to open the week and was a limited participant in the team's final session in advance of Sunday's matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. The tight end showed encouraging signs on Friday, and according to Kyle Shanahan, the team will make a decision on his availability by Saturday.
"I think I said earlier in the week that I thought it'd be alright," Shanahan said. "The fact that he wasn't ready to go on Thursday just worried us a little bit more than we were expecting. The fact he could do a little bit today was much more encouraging than what it was yesterday and hopefully we have that same result tomorrow."
Added Kittle: "If my body says I can go, I'll be out there."
There are still questions surrounding Elijah Mitchell's availability in his first-career divisional meeting. Mitchell missed San Francisco's primetime matchup against the Green Bay Packers while recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in Week 2.
Mitchell has made improvements over the last week as the running back has been ruled questionable heading into the weekend. Per Shanahan, Mitchell's status depends on his pain tolerance, which the team will test on Saturday.
Beyond Mitchell, Trey Sermon and Trenton Cannon are the lone healthy backs currently on San Francisco's active roster. The 49ers have the option of promoting Kerryon Johnson and Jacques Patrick from the team's practice squad over the weekend as well.
Beyond stepping in for a depleted backfield in Week 1 in the season opener, Cannon has been used primarily as a return specialist. According to Shanahan, the 49ers "have no problem putting him at running back" should San Francisco find themselves shorthanded on Sunday.
Defensively, Josh Norman's status remains in the air. Norman has been dealing with a lung contusion after suffering a helmet hit to the chest in Week 3. Norman rejoined the 49ers at the team facility on Monday for team meetings after being taken to the hospital.
Norman has yet to be cleared to return to the field as he must undergo additional testing which will take place on Saturday. If the veteran is unable to go, the 49ers will look to newcomers Buster Skrine and Dre Kirkpatrick to add to Emmanuel Moseley, Deommodore Lenoir and Dontae Johnson at corner.
"A lot will be on how Josh feels. But regardless of that, it doesn't matter if he doesn't pass the testing," Shanahan said.
As for Seattle, running back Rashaad Penny (calf) and tackle Brandon Shell (ankle) have both been ruled out for Sunday. Wide receiver DK Metcalf, who appeared on the team's injury report earlier this week, is expected to play on Sunday, per NFL Insider Field Yates.
Here's a full look at the injury report heading into #SEAvsSF:
- CB K'Waun Williams (calf)
- CB Josh Norman (chest)
- TE George Kittle (calf)
- RB Elijah Mitchell (shoulder)
- DT Javon Kinlaw (knee)
- RB Rashaad Penny (calf)
- T Brandon Shell (ankle)
- WR D'Wayne Eskridge (concussion)
- WR Tyler Lockett (hip)
- LB Benson Mayowa (neck)
- DE Alton Robinson (knee)