Javon Kinlaw wasn't able to suit up for the 49ers in the season opener Sunday against the Detroit Lions, but head coach Kyle Shanahan appears to be pleased with the former first-round pick's progress as he works to recover from a knee injury.
“I'm not expecting it. I'm hoping it. I know that he's got a chance to. He had a really good last four days," Shanahan said when asked if Kinlaw would be ready to return to practice Wednesday. "He was looking good on Saturday. We were able to get him a good workout on Sunday. And each day has been an improvement. So, I think that we still have to look how it is tomorrow. We'll re-evaluate him on Wednesday, but as far as these last four days and him not playing in that game, it's been going in the right direction.”
The 49ers outlasted the Lions 41-33 at Ford Field on Sunday, allowing Detroit to climb back into the game after San Francisco jumped out to a 38-10 lead.
D.J. Jones put together a solid performance in the interior for the 49ers, finishing fourth among all NFL interior defensive linemen with an 82.3 Pro Football Focus grade Sunday.
Kinlaw dealt with some knee troubles during his college career at South Carolina, and the 49ers' staff understandably is being cautious with the 319-pound defensive lineman.
The 49ers' defense has fed off pressure from the front four in years past, and the ability of a player like Kinlaw to swallow up attention from offensive linemen opens up opportunities for Nick Bosa and the rest of the team's edge rushers.
New defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans certainly would like to see Kinlaw back in his huddle when the 49ers visit Philadelphia for a matchup with the Eagles in Week 2.