All 49ers players, coaches, fans and members of the front office held its collective breath Sunday when George Kittle grabbed his left knee and limped off the field in the second quarter of San Francisco's 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Kittle returned to Sunday's game after halftime, and was diagnosed Monday with a left knee sprain. There clearly is cause for concern, but NFL Media's Mike Silver and Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday that the 49ers are "cautiously optimistic" Kittle will play this Sunday against the New York Jets.
"My understanding is the 49ers are cautiously optimistic that they are going to have George Kittle available to them for this coming game on Sunday against the New York Jets," Garafolo said on the NFL Network. "Barring any setbacks, sounds like there is optimism Kittle will play."
Kittle also texted Silver Monday and told him he's "good to go." San Francisco's loss to Arizona proved how badly the 49ers need their star tight end, too.
The 49ers already were without their top two receivers -- Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Samuel is on the injured reserve and will miss the first four games of the season after breaking his foot this offseason. Aiyuk is yet to make his NFL debut after dealing with a hamstring injury, and the 49ers hope to have him back against the Jets. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo certainly made mistakes but his receivers also didn't help him too much.
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Kittle finished the 49ers' Week 1 loss with four receptions for 44 yards and one rushing attempt for nine yards. All that came in the first half. He returned for the second half, but clearly wasn't himself.
As the defending NFC champions look for their first win, having Kittle on the field always helps.