49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw underwent a minor procedure on his right knee Tuesday, but reportedly is expected to remain on schedule for the start of San Francisco's offseason program in April.
The 23-year-old posted a picture on Instagram after the procedure, captioning it "Small thing to a giant."
The 49ers selected Kinlaw out of the University of South Carolina with the No.14 overall pick in the NFL Draft. In his rookie season, he racked up 33 tackles -- including three for a loss -- and 1.5 sacks. His most notable moment was intercepting Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff in Week 12 and racing 27 yards to the end zone for his first career NFL touchdown.
Kinlaw's surgery does hold some cause for concern, as he missed the final two weeks of the season after suffering a knee injury in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys. He also as a history of knee tendinitis, dating back to his time in college. However, The Athletic's Matt Barrows reported Kinlaw's prcedure is not related to the tendinitis he experienced with the Gamecocks.
A timely return for Kinlaw is critical for his development as a key player on the 49ers' defensive line next season. Injuries decimated that line in 2020, with Soloman Thomas, Dee Ford and 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa all missing the majority of the season. That led to ramping up Kinlaw's use, which consequently ramped up his development time frame.
Should Kinlaw remain healthy, he should gain plenty of critical reps in the 49ers' offseason program, leaving him poised for a notable sophomore campaign.