George Kittle Injury Update: When Will The 49ers TE Return?

Written By Matt Burke on November 7, 2021

If you’re having tight end problems I feel bad for you, son. But then again we all are this time of year. Tight end has long been the most barren fantasy football position and it adds insult to injury when you draft a top tier TE like George Kittle and he winds up on the IR. For fantasy owners, 49ers bettors and San Fran fans in general we will look at when will George Kittle be back and return to the field. We will update this post with new information as it comes in on how long George Kittle will be out for the 49ers.

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When will George Kittle be back and return to the 49ers?

Kittle being relegated to the IR was a bit perplexing to fantasy football owners considering the time line. The star tight end originally suffered the injury in Week 1 against the Lions but played in Weeks 2 through 4. Just prior to the team’s game at Arizona in Week 5, however, the 49ers placed Kittle on Injured Reserve. As for when will George Kittle be back and return to the 49ers he is eligible to play Week 9 at home against the Cardinals. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Oct. 29 that Kittle would likely suit up for the 49ers against Arizona. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he “expects” Kittle to play against the Cardinals but it is “no guarantee.”

Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Nov. 6 that Kittle is “expected to play” Sunday against the Cardinals.

Here are potential return dates.

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7 vs. Cardinals
  • Week 10: Monday, Nov. 15 vs. Rams
  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21 at Jaguars
  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28 vs. Vikings

The 49ers had their bye in Week 6.

It is not believed that Kittle had a calf tear, which would have kept the TE out for a couple of months. But 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan did say the nagging injury continued to worsen.

“It just got a lot worse,” Shanahan said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. “There wasn’t an exact diagnosis on it so we were expecting it to heal with some of the results the guys had told us. It got so much worse that we started to look at it a different way. That’s why we had to shut him down.”

A severe calf strain that does not require surgery may take up to six weeks, according to NOLASportsMedicine. The 49ers game at Jacksonville in Week 11 would be six weeks from when Kittle last played.

49ers odds

The 49ers are in danger of falling out of the NFC playoff picture unless they can nab a couple wins over the next few weeks. San Francisco is currently to make the playoffs. Below are the 49ers best futures prices.

George Kittle props

Kittle’s injury history is extremely concerning, considering that he hasn’t played a full season since 2018. Here were Kittle’s over under props at DraftKings Sportsbook prior to the start of this season.

  • Receiving yards: 1025.5
  • Receiving TDs: 5.5

Eclipsing that yardage total looks impossible considering the amount of time Kittle has and will miss. He had 227 receiving yards on the year in four games played.

The TD number is a big ask as well, though one huge game could get him close. Kittle has not yet found the end zone this year and has never had more than 5 TDs in a season.

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Sports Editor and Head of Evergreen/SEO Content at He is the Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of MetroBet, a digital and print sports betting platform, and was the Executive Sports Editor at Metro US Newspapers (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) from 2014-2020. Matt has covered Super Bowls and Final Fours, and his work has appeared for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, the Eagle Tribune, Gloucester Daily Times and Newburyport Daily News. Matt is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

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