49ers

49ers' John Lynch felt 'incredibly blessed' George Kittle OK after injury

49ers' John Lynch felt 'incredibly blessed' George Kittle OK after injury

The 49ers will host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10 for "Monday Night Football," and we're still left not knowing whether or not George Kittle will be available for the game.

The last update we received was from head coach Kyle Shanahan on Thursday, who said the tight end is having knee and ankle issues after going down against the Arizona Cardinals last week. There is hope he will play this week, but "we will see."

49ers general manager John Lynch shares the same desire to have Kittle return to the starting lineup.

"Well, first and foremost, I just felt incredibly blessed for everybody that he was OK," Lynch said Friday morning on KNBR. "I'm sitting there on [Thursday] night, and I've got the luxury of having a replay right over me. And as I saw that, I said, 'Oh no.' I mean, that did not look good the way that knee hyperextended. And then next thing you know, Kittle is in there doing what he does -- breaking loose and busting loose."

Kittle is one tough cookie. Even after the injury, trainers felt comfortable enough to have him return.

[RELATED: Jimmy G enthusiastic for first start vs. Seahawks]

"He injured both his knee and ankle," Lynch said. "I think the prognosis is good in terms of nothing long-term, and we all know, with George, he's as tough as they come. He wears these trainers out. He's here from morning 'til night. He's doing his best because every game is a huge game for him."

Lynch remains positive just as Shanahan does, but added he doesn't know anything else.

49ers vs. Saints live stream: How to watch NFL Week 14 game lonline

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49ers vs. Saints live stream: How to watch NFL Week 14 game lonline

The 49ers are almost through the gauntlet. 

A three-week stretch against Super Bowl contenders concludes Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints, the NFC's No. 1 seed. The 49ers passed their first test against the Green Bay Packers, but San Francisco lost for just the second time this season last week against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. 

A loss to the Saints would all but eliminate the 49ers in pursuit of home-field advantage through the entirety of the NFC playoffs, and they'd be rooting even harder for the Seattle Seahawks to lose to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. A win, however, would set the 49ers up for a potential winner-take-all clash for NFC supremacy in Week 17 against the Seahawks. 

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle on pace for best tight end season in PFF era]

Here's how to watch the 49ers-Saints game online and on TV. 

Start time: Sunday, Dec. 8, at 10:00 a.m. PT
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial

49ers' George Kittle on pace for one of best seasons ever by tight end

49ers' George Kittle on pace for one of best seasons ever by tight end

George Kittle is keeping elite company this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

The 49ers tight end has earned a 93.8 grade from the analytics site so far this season. If that grade holds, Kittle will have had the best season at the position since they started grading players in 2006. 

Though Kittle is far off his record-setting receiving pace from a year ago, he has graded out better than he did in 2018. Kittle finished his second NFL season with an 89.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, and he ranked 13th in the site's top 101 players. 

PFF's methodology is just a bit more detailed than Doug Gottlieb's. Each player graded on a game-by-game basis by three separate analysts whose evaluations are "verified" by a network of former coaches, according to the site. Kittle has been a darling by PFF's metrics all season, grading out as the NFL's best player through the first four weeks of the season. 

[RELATED: Ravens' Harbaugh reacts to Ryan's Jackson comments]

Kittle will have his hands full Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He's set to match up against Cam Jordan while run-blocking and New Orleans has allowed the 13th-fewest receiving yards against tight ends this season. Saints coach Sean Payton praised Kittle's versatility earlier this week, indicating that New Orleans is focused on slowing the tight end down in order to limit the 49ers' offense. 

As Kittle's grade shows, that'll be a tall order for the NFC's No. 1 seed.