Kittle reveals he played majority of 2023 season with injury

Kittle reveals he played majority of 2023 season with injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — On Wednesday, for the first time since undergoing successful core muscle surgery this offseason, George Kittle spoke to the media.

The 49ers tight end shared that the injury occurred at some point in the middle of the 2023 NFL season, which made playing a challenge.

“Quite a while,” Kittle said when explaining when the injury occurred. “I’d say like Week 9-10. We took some MRIs of it and some stuff didn’t show up, so we weren’t entirely sure what we were dealing with until I got the surgery. That was a tough one. We tried to it figure out, but things weren’t popping up on the scans, so just something we were playing through for probably like 10 weeks.

"Fun stuff.”

Kittle still managed to record his third career 1,000-yard receiving season, but in the playoffs only caught eight of his 13 targets for 112 yards and one touchdown, including two receptions for four yards in Super Bowl LVIII.

“[The training staff] tried doing everything they could to help keep me on the field as much as possible and not miss any practices and stuff like that,” Kittle said. “They did a great job of that and it wasn’t the most fun, but still could play at a high level.”

Kittle’s defensive teammate, cornerback Charvarius Ward, underwent core muscle surgery a week before the tight end, which made him a resource on the procedure. While the surgeries for each player weren’t entirely the same, Kittle appreciated the information Ward was able to share.

“It was a little different surgery,” Kittle said. “There were some similarities, but they had to reattach something differently for me than they did to him, so it’s a little different. But overall, I think we are both progressing at a good rate.”

Kittle has been rehabbing at the 49ers facility in Santa Clara, while Ward has been working his way back in his hometown in Mississippi. Both are on track to be ready to play for the 2024 NFL season opener, when San Francisco hosts the New York Jets for "Monday Night Football" on Sept. 9.

As far as how Kittle is feeling, the 30-year-old explained it as only he can, with a smile and a positive outlook.

“Coming along,” Kittle said. “Progressing as planned. Goal is to be ready for training camp, and all signs point I will be ready for training camp. Feeling wonderful. Guys are around having fun, playing football. It’s a great time to be alive.”

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