SANTA CLARA -- Tight end George Kittle said he knew at the time he sustained injuries to his left knee and ankle in Week 9 that he would be out for a couple of weeks.
On Thursday, he returned to limited practice after sitting out two weeks of 49ers' practices and games.
“It went really well,” Kittle said after practice. “It was definitely a great step in the right direction. It was really fun being back out there with all the guys. I definitely don’t miss sitting in the training room all day. My goal definitely is still Green Bay.”
Kittle and wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) returned to limited practice on Thursday, suggesting there is a strong likelihood each player will be available to play Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.
“Unfortunately, that falls on the doctors and coach [Kyle] Shanahan, so whatever they decide, I’ll do,” Kittle said.
Kittle was forced to watch the past two games from a suite on the 800 level of Levi’s Stadium, rather than being on the sideline. Kittle described that experience as “absolutely brutal, absolutely awful.” At worst, he hoped to be allowed on the sideline with his teammates.
“I want to be down there, but they said I’d hurt myself if I put myself down there,” Kittle said. “I disagreed, but I understand.
“It’s a lower body injury, so it doesn’t make any sense to stand on it for three or four hours, and fatigue it. I agree with them, and I disagree with them.”
Kittle, as Shanahan has done in the past two weeks, declined to disclose the nature of his injuries. When asked if his ankle or knee is giving him the most difficulty, he quipped, “Yes.”
Kittle was injured on the 49ers’ first play of their Oct. 31 game against the Arizona Cardinals. He said he did not believe his decision to remain in the game caused the injuries to worsen.
“They said, ‘You want to play?’ And I said, ‘I’ll do everything I can to finish the game,’ and I got an extra three quarters out of it,” Kittle said. “I don’t think it affected my injury any further.”
Kittle leads the 49ers with 46 receptions for 541 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers are atop the NFC West, as well as the conference, with a 9-1 record. The Packers are 8-2.
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“Every game is a big game, but definitely an 8-2 Packers team coming, it’s definitely a battle for the NFC, definitely a massive game,” Kittle said. “It’s one I don’t want to miss.”