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Source: 49ers expect Kittle to play; Mitchell, Norman to sit

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George Kittle

Tight end George Kittle, who was seen running on the practice field late in the week, is expected to take the field for the 49ers on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

But rookie running back Elijah Mitchell and cornerback Josh Norman are not expected to play.

Mitchell still is experiencing extreme shoulder pain from an AC joint injury, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. Mitchell does not figure to be in uniform for the key Week 4 matchup at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Fellow rookie Trey Sermon will start in his place.

Norman, whom the 49ers listed as doubtful, is expected to be out, too. Veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick figures to be in line for his first playing time on defense since signing with the 49ers more than two weeks ago.

The expected injury outcomes were confirmed Sunday morning by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who reported, citing a source that Mitchell will be out and Kittle will play.

Sermon rushed for 31 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in the 49ers' 30-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he saw noticeable improvements from the third-round draft pick during practices as he gains more comfort in the team's offensive system.

Kittle is a huge key to the 49ers' offense both as a pass-catcher and run-blocker. He ranks second on the team with 15 catches for 187 yards. The 49ers have had 11 different players score one touchdown apiece in three games, and Kittle is not one of them.

 
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Kittle appeared in front of the media for a press briefing on Friday. He said he was feeling good and would be on the field for the game against the Seahawks if his body allowed him to play.

“I’m going to do everything I can to be on the field on Sunday," Kittle said. "If my body says I can go, I’ll be out there.”

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