All signs point to star left tackle Trent Williams playing for the 49ers on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, in what would be just his third career playoff game.
Williams missed the 49ers' Week 18 comeback win against the Los Angeles Rams with a sprained elbow. He said Thursday to reporters that he sustained the injury on the sixth play of the 49ers' Week 17 win over the Houston Texans. He played 59 snaps against Houston, good for 95 percent of San Francisco's offensive plays.
How important is it that Williams expects to play in Dallas? Tight end George Kittle summed it pretty clearly.
"He's the best football player I've ever played with," Kittle said.
"It's very helpful," he continued. "Huge Trent Williams fan. Love playing with him, love blocking him with him. Makes my life a whole lot easier. He makes everybody's life a lot easier. You can ask to block two guys and he'll do it with ease.
"Trent a little bit hurt is still I think better than almost anybody in the NFL, regardless of position. Having him back is a huge impact for us and will allow us to do a lot more things in the run and pass game."
Kittle has supported Williams all season long and made it clear how much he respects him, but it doesn't get much better than that.
Williams' 98.3 Pro Football Focus grade has him as the best player in the NFL this season. He was named to his ninth straight Pro Bowl this season. Somehow there's still one piece of hardware missing from his trophy room.
The 11-year veteran has never been named to an All-Pro team. That's almost sure to change this season, and he'll know Friday morning when the team is announced. Williams said he didn't even know what date he would find out because he has tried to block it out after years of disappointment.
It's clear he already knows his career speaks for itself, but the honor still would mean a lot.
"It sucks, because I can't let it define my career because I've never made it," Williams said. "If I felt like that's what I needed to define my career then anything I've done up to now is really hogwash in my opinion. It would definitely feel good to get a notch if that happens, but at this point I'm not putting a whole lot of time into it. Not a lot of thought going into it.
"If I make it, I make it. I've been disappointed year after year after year, so it's really come to a point I'm almost numb to it. Yeah, I would love to make it but I'm not looking forward to it, I didn't even know when it was coming out. I'm so used to getting that disappointment. If it happens, it happens and I'll thank God and keep moving."
Expect Williams to be thanking God come Friday, and so will the rest of the 49ers with the expectation their demoralizer will be ready to roll in Dallas.