How George Kittle looked to Jimmy Garoppolo in return from IR

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How Kittle looked to Jimmy G in first 49ers practice off IR originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to get George Kittle, his No. 1 target from 2019, back on the field.

The 49ers' All-Pro tight end practice participated in practice Wednesday for the first time since being placed on injured reserve with a calf injury sustained in a Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Garoppolo is excited for what Kittle will bring to the team both on and off the field.

“It’ll be awesome,” Garoppolo said Wednesday. “I mean, just having him out there for the walk-through just a little bit ago, you could feel him. He's got some fresh legs, so his legs are, he's looking fast right now. So, I'm excited to get him back out there. Just another weapon for us. And we've got Jeff Wilson coming back, too. So, it's a good Wednesday for us.”

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan shared the team will take Wednesday’s practice a little slower than usual, allowing all returning players a chance to get acclimated. It also will help the players that have been a little banged up through the first half of the season.

Shanahan wouldn’t make any guarantees that Kittle would be available to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Shanahan wants to make sure that the tight end will not aggravate the injury in the process.

“I'm not sure,” Shanahan said. “I'm not counting on it 100 percent. I’m waiting to see how he is today. We're going to slow it down a little bit. Just been banged up the last couple of weeks. We're going to go pretty slow today. But I think the real test will be for him [Thursday.]”

Shanahan added that he will not put Kittle on a pitch count, but they will, as always, keep an eye on his health. The Iowa product’s enthusiasm and desire to run through defenders can cause him to deal with injuries on a regular basis.

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Prior to his injury, Kittle appeared in four games and caught 19 of his 28 targets for 227 yards and was on the field for 262 snaps (97 percent). Shanahan explained that is just the normal workload for the position.

“Kittle is always going to play through stuff and go out there when he isn't 100 percent,” Shanahan said. “And when he's not 100 percent, that's when you’ve definitely got to do that. But I've never done that with a tight end before, though.”

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