49ers TE George Kittle to make return against Cardinals on Saturday
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle will be making his return from the injured reserve list against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Saturday.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan made the announcement during his Zoom press conference with reporters on Thursday.
Kittle has missed the 49ers’ last five games with a foot injury that he sustained against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8.
The All-Pro tight end also missed two games earlier this season due to a knee injury.
In the six games he has played this year, however, Kittle has amassed a total of 37 receptions for 474 yards and two touchdowns.
And in the two teams’ Week 1 matchup in September — a 24-20 Cardinals’ road win — the tight end posted only four catches for 44 yards on five targets.
That metric was pretty remarkable at the time considering how bad Arizona’s defense was against tight ends in 2019, as well as the fact that San Francisco was both healthy and coming in as the defending NFC champions.
Fast forward to Week 16 and things have completely turned upside down.
The Niners will be without a plethora of starters, all of whom played against the Cardinals earlier this season.
A few of those big-name players include quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert, defensive end Nick Bosa, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Jimmie Ward.
One newly-added face on the 49ers’ roster will be familiar to Cardinals fans, though, as quarterback Josh Rosen was signed off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad earlier this week.
Arizona could clinch its first playoff berth in half a decade this weekend with a win and Chicago Bears loss or tie to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Catch all the action live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.