PHOENIX -- George Kittle will be out of action for at least the next three 49ers games, as the team on Saturday placed the tight end on injured reserve, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.
The 49ers later confirmed the move, along with wide receiver Travis Benjamin, tight end Tanner Hudson and quarterback Nate Sudfeld's promotion/activation to the active roster ahead of Sunday's meeting with the Arizona Cardinals.
Kittle did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a calf strain. He also did not practice a week ago but was cleared to play in the 49ers’ Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks. He played 70 of the 49ers’ 76 snaps against Seattle.
After consultation with team doctors and receiving additional opinions, the consensus was that Kittle would be bothered by the injury all season if he continued to try to practice and play. No surgical procedure will be required, the source said.
The source said Kittle thought he felt better this week. But when he went out to practice Friday and went through rehabilitation and conditioning work, it was still painful and he felt "compromised."
The 49ers believe Kittle needs time on injured reserve to rehab, so that he can be healthy for the final 10 games of the season. He is required to miss Sunday’s game in Arizona and the two subsequent games against the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.
The team expects Kittle to be available on Nov. 7 — the earliest date he can return — when the 49ers face the Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium, the source said.
Kittle, a two-time Pro Bowl performer, had 19 catches for 227 yards in the 49ers' first four games of the season.