SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers do not expect to have Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle available Monday night at Levi's Stadium for the team’s biggest game in years.
Kittle, who injured his knee and ankle in the 49ers’ Week 9 win over the Arizona Cardinals, officially is listed as doubtful to face the Seattle Seahawks, coach Kyle Shanahan announced Saturday afternoon.
The 49ers (8-0) could seize command of the NFC West with a victory against the Seahawks (7-2), but they will likely have to do it without their best offensive player.
The 49ers do not expect Kittle to play, but he is listed as doubtful, leaving open the slight chance he might make a dramatic improvement to enable to get back on the field. Kittle is no stranger to playing with pain. He played eight games last season with torn rib cartilage and still set the NFL single-season record for receiving yards from a tight end with 1,377.
Kittle injured his left knee and ankle on the first play of the 49ers’ 28-25 victory over Arizona on Oct. 31, and the team didn't specify the nature of either injury.
Kittle was lined up on the right side of the 49ers’ offensive formation and moved to his left to block on a run play. Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones, lined up on the opposite side, inadvertently struck Kittle with his helmet as he went to the ground to make a tackle on running back Tevin Coleman.
Kittle returned to the game and caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, but he was unable to finish the game. Ross Dwelley took over as the 49ers’ primary tight end and caught an 11-yard pass on a third-and-9 situation to seal the victory.
Dwelley is likely to make his fifth consecutive start after taking over for fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who missed the past four games. Juszczyk is expected back in the lineup on Monday night.
The 49ers could also activate veteran tight end Garrett Celek from the physically-unable-to-perform list to join Dwelley and Levine Toilolo on the depth chart. Celek returned to practice this week after undergoing surgery in June to repair a herniated disk in his back. The 49ers can wait until Monday at 1 p.m. to activate Celek for the game.
The 49ers would be without a huge part of their passing game if Kittle does not play. He leads the team with 46 receptions for 541 yards and two touchdowns.
49ers injury report
TE George Kittle (knee, ankle)
K Robbie Gould (groin)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (quad, foot)
OT Joe Staley (fibula)
OT Mike McGlinchey (knee)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)