In the most promising start to a week this season, 49ers Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle was scheduled to be on the practice field Wednesday afternoon in Santa Clara.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Kittle would go through limited practice as the club begins preparations to face the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Kittle was inactive for the 49ers’ first two games of the season due to a groin injury. If Kittle makes it through the week without any setbacks, all signs point toward him making his season debut on Sunday night in Denver.
Kittle last season was the 49ers’ No. 2 receiver behind Deebo Samuel. Kittle caught 71 passes for 910 yards and a career-high six touchdowns in 14 games.
The return to Kittle provides new/old starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with another target in the passing game.
Through two games, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is the 49ers’ leading receiver with seven receptions for 103 yards. Samuel ranks second on the team with seven receptions for 58 yards.
The 49ers did not get much production in the passing game from their tight ends with Kittle sidelined, though Ross Dwelley caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Dwelley had two catches for 49 yards, and Tyler Kroft, who started both games in Kittle’s absence, had one catch for 9 yards. Charlie Woerner played 55 snaps and did not catch a pass.
Kittle did not see any practice time leading up to the 49ers’ Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears. Last week, there was a glimmer of hope he would be available to face the Seahawks after he took part in limited practice on Friday.
Shanahan said on Monday that Kittle was close to being able to suit up to face Seattle.
“Obviously he wasn’t able to go and I’m glad we didn’t (play him) because I think he could have got through the game, but there was going to be a higher risk of him re-injuring that,” Shanahan said. “To be able to pull that game off and still get a win, I’m very glad with the decision we made and that should give him a much better chance to be good to go this week.”
Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (foot) was not scheduled to practice Wednesday, but Shanahan said Armstead will be available to play in the game. Left tackle Trent Williams was scheduled for a veteran rest day.