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49ers-Cardinals injury reports: Kittle set to return in Week 9

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Tight end George Kittle went through a full practice on Thursday and is tracking toward being activated off injured reserve for the 49ers’ key Week 9 game against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals.

“I love football,” Kittle said on Thursday. “Playing football is really fun. And I’ve missed all of my friends.”

Kittle was placed on injured reserve on the eve of the 49ers’ Week 5 game against the Cardinals due to a calf injury. The 49ers, playing without Kittle and starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, wasted a strong defensive performance in a 17-10 loss to the Cardinals.

This week, the Cardinals are the team that could be without their quarterback and top pass-catcher.

Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray did not practice with an ankle injury, and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins sat out with a hamstring injury. The availability of the Cardinals’ top offensive players remains in question for Sunday’s game at Levi’s Stadium.

Also, Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who had a huge game against the 49ers last month, will not play because of a serious shoulder injury.

The 49ers are expected to be without free safety Jimmie Ward, who missed his second day of practice with a quadriceps strain. With Jaquiski Tartt already sidelined, the 49ers are likely to start veteran Tavon Wilson and rookie Talanoa Hufanga at the safety positions.

The 49ers’ leading receiver, Deebo Samuel, returned to limited practice on Thursday with a calf injury.


The return to Kittle could provide a big boost to the 49ers.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’m doing everything I can to prepare for Sunday. Not practicing since Green Bay week, definitely a little bit of rust, but I just got to get back out there. It’s like riding a bike, I guess. Just go out there and catch the ball, run some routes, hit some people. That’s football.”

Later, Kittle added, “Luckily, I get a chance this weekend to go back out there and play football.”

Here are the full participation reports from Thursday’s practice for both teams:


Did not practice: DL Maurice Hurst (calf), DB Jimmie Ward (quadricep)

Limited: DL Dee Ford (back), RB Elijah Mitchell (rib), WR Deebo Samuel (calf), T Trent Williams (ankle)

Full: LB Marcell Harris (thumb)

*LB Azeez Al-Shaair, DL Dee Ford have cleared concussion protocol.

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Did not practice: WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), DT Rashard Lawrence (calf), QB Kyler Murray (ankle), RB Jonathan Ward (concussion), DE J.J. Watt (shoulder), S James Wiggins (knee)

Limited: LB Zaven Collins (shoulder), RB Chase Edmonds (shoulder), C Max Garcia (Achilles), G Justin Pugh (calf)

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