There's a little good news on the 49ers' injury front, but it should be taken with some caution.
Coach Kyle Shanahan revealed Monday that All-Pro tight end George Kittle will join the team Wednesday, but the player performance staff will see how he feels before allowing him to practice.
Kittle reportedly sprained his MCL in Week 1 when his knee bent back awkwardly while being tackled on the 49ers' last drive of the first half. He remained in the game but was not targeted again. Kittle didn't play in Week 2 against the New York Jets.
While playing on what several 49ers players called questionable field turf at MetLife Stadium, a number of star players were injured. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert and defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas all left the game after sustaining leg injuries. The 49ers will have to consider that ahead of another trip to MetLife in Week 3 against the New York Giants.
“We will always think about that with everything, especially with George coming back and especially with the issue with the field,” Shanahan said on a video conference with Bay Area reporters.
If Kittle does return, expect to see him on a limited snap count in an attempt to reduce the risk of re-injury. The 49ers successfully leaned on Jordan Reed without Kittle in Week 2.
Reed led the team in receiving yards, catching seven of his eight targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers' 31-13 win over the Jets. After missing all of last year following his seventh documented concussion, Reed proved his reliability on the field in Week 2. Depth tight ends Ross Dwelley and rookie Charlie Woerner also are capable of picking up the slack if Kittle can't go.
The 49ers also expect veteran cornerback Jason Verrett to return to practice on Wednesday. Verrett missed the first two weeks of the 2020 season with a hamstring injury.
The 29-year-old has played in just one regular-season game since his arrival in Santa Clara last year, but the 49ers hope he can offer some depth to their injury-riddled roster. Cornerback Richard Sherman remains on injured reserve, and will miss at least the next two weeks after not playing against the Jets.