All-Pro tight end George Kittle will not practice this week due to a left knee sprain sustained in the 49ers’ season-opening 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
But Kittle is one player who coach Kyle Shanahan is confident can play at a high level even without a week of practice.
“Kittle, he’s battling,” Shanahan said Wednesday as the 49ers returned to practice to begin preparations to face the New York Jets on Sunday.
“We thought he’d be all right. He woke up the next day a little sore. He fully expects to be there Sunday like he always does, and like he always plays through the game when it happens. But we’ll give him the whole week.”
Kittle will not practice Wednesday or Thursday, Shanahan said. He could be on the field for a low-speed work on Friday before the club travels to face the Jets.
“Kittle is one guy, if he’s ready to go on Sunday and the doctors say he’s good to go, we have no problem with him going without practicing,” Shanahan said.
Kittle sustained a knee sprain late in the first half of the season opener when Arizona defensive back Budda Baker made a legal hit on Kittle, who had just landed after jumping for an errant Jimmy Garoppolo pass.
Kittle hobbled to the sideline for the 49ers’ final offensive play of the first half. But he returned to the lineup at the beginning of the third quarter. Kittle played 61 of the 49ers’ 62 offensive plays in the 49ers' loss.
Kittle’s knee condition could lead to veteran Jordan Reed getting more action against the Jets. Reed played 10 snaps against the Cardinals. He caught two passes for 12 yards.
“Jordan is coming along as planned,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see if he gets a little more playing time if there are less tight ends up.”