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49ers' George Kittle: Groin Injury 'Significantly Better,' Aiming to Play vs. Bears

Erin WalshSeptember 9, 2022

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

George Kittle's status for the San Francisco 49ers' season-opener against the Chicago Bears on Sunday is up in the air as he continues to deal with a groin injury. However, he provided a positive update on Friday.

Kittle told reporters that he's feeling "significantly better" than he did earlier in the week and "will do everything [he] can" to play in Week 1.

Kittle's comments come after Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reported Thursday that his groin injury was considered "not good" and that he was unlikely to play against the Bears.

"One of the top tight ends in the game and well known for his toughness, Kittle wouldn't shock anyone if he opted to play through the injury," Wilson wrote. "Nonetheless, his chances of playing nearly the entire season are considered much more likely if he sits out the season opener and doesn't further aggravate the injury."

Kittle suffered the injury during Monday's practice and has been sidelined ever since. Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters they would take things day by day.

San Francisco had been cautious with Kittle throughout training camp after he missed three games last season with a calf injury. He had a number of days off in an effort to help him stay fresh and healthy heading into the regular season.

The 28-year-old is coming off a solid 2021 season in which he caught 71 passes for 910 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. He is expected to be one of Trey Lance's top targets in 2022 alongside Deebo Samuel.

If Kittle is ruled out for Sunday's game, wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings should see a heavier workload. Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley and Tyler Kroft are also available to slot in for him at tight end.

Kittle has not played a full season since 2018 because of injuries.

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