Just moments before taking the practice field in a blue non-contact jersey, Kyle Juszczyk told reporters that he will "absolutely" return in Week 8 from the back injury that has kept the fullback out the last two games.
"I'm feeling great. I'm really excited to get back out there and be with my teammates," Juszczyk said on Wednesday. "I'm going to go out here to practice, and barring any setbacks, I should be good to go."
Juszczyk got banged up back in Week 5 when the San Francisco 49ers lost in overtime to the Indianapolis Colts. The fullback took a shot in the first quarter and played through pain for the rest of the game.
The 49ers went to Juszczyk in big moments that game, too. The fullback caught an 8-yard pass to move the sticks near the end of the third quarter. He then scored on a 6-yard touchdown catch to make it a one-score game midway through the fourth quarter. It was Juszczyk's first touchdown as a member of the 49ers.
"I was dealing with (the injury) the whole time," he said. "I didn't really know the severity of it. I just wanted to be out there, help my teammates and battle through whatever I could."
It's become apparent how important a fullback is in Kyle Shanahan's offense. The 49ers have used tight ends to fill the void in Juszczyk's absence, which has yielded moderate results at best. San Francisco's narrow defeat against the Washington Redskins was followed by a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7.
"We had to go a few different ways with our offense the last couple weeks. I can just say that from my perspective, it hurt to watch my team out there and not be able to help. I'm excited to be able to this week."
Juszczyk has carried the ball three times for 11 yards and has eight receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. The fullback has also been responsible for opening up running lanes for several of Pierre Garçon's biggest runs this season.
He'll be a much-needed reinforcement on Sunday when the 49ers travel east to face the 6-1 Philadelphia Eagles.