SANTA CLARA -- George Kittle likes to inflict pain on opposing defenses. He can handle a lot of pain, too.
The 49ers tight end returned to action Sunday night, playing with a bone chip in his left ankle, which he sustained during an Oct. 31 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He's also just 24 days removed from a “popped capsule” in the back of his knee, coach Kyle Shanahan said.
“When you find out a guy has a broken ankle after the first play of the Arizona game, and we’re told he can come back in, that doesn’t make sense to me, either,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan explained Kittle’s injury was like when a piece of tree bark comes off a tree. It does not impact the stability of the tree, he said, so Kittle could not injure himself any worse by returning to action.
Kittle played another three quarters with the injury before sitting out the past two games.
“You’re able to go with it, but it’s extremely painful,” Shanahan said. “So, that was a choice he made in that game. We’ll make it for him if it’s not stable, but it’s stable, so he can go as long as he can if he can tolerate the pain.
“But the stuff he had in his knee, it was a popped capsule. That took a couple more weeks to heal up. Once that was healed, it was pain tolerance with the ankle.”