49ers’ George Kittle ruled out for Week 3 battle with Giants, joins slew of key players nursing injuries

The San Francisco 49ers are in dire straits going into their Week 3 contest with the New York Giants, one week after suffering a devastating number of injuries to several players, including all-world pass rusher Nick Bosa. Bosa suffered a season-ending torn ACL and he’s not the only one who’ll be absent on Sunday, but instead joins a growing list of 49ers players ruled out — one that now [again] includes tight end George Kittle. The All-Pro missed Week 2 with a bone bruise and MCL ailment suffered in the opener, and simply isn’t ready to return. He will not take the field against the Giants, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced.

Still rehabbing the injuries and working himself back to the field, Kittle feels good about his progress. 

“I’m just feel better every single day, so that’s awesome,” Kittle told media recently, via USA Today. “Just being able to go out there and play football again a little bit has been great.” 

Much was said of the condition of the turf at MetLife Stadium after 49ers players dropped like flies, leading the NFL to launch a probe into the matter that was resolved fairly quickly and without incident. For his part, Kittle says he can’t call it either way — considering he was sidelined last week — but does attribute a good bit of it to the reality that injuries are part of the game.

“I wasn’t at the Jets game. I didn’t feel the field, so I really don’t know about it,” he said. “I know we’re unlucky with some injuries and stuff. But no, it’s turf field and it is what it is. I gotta go play football. So not really concerned because I haven’t played on it yet.”

And he won’t, at least not in the 2020 regular season. 

With Kittle again ruled out, that leaves the 49ers with a startling number of key players unable to strap on the pads to challenge the Giants. Jimmy Garoppolo has been ruled out with a high ankle sprain (Nick Mullens was named starter on Friday), and the offense will also be without running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, along with wideout Deebo Samuel. On the other side of the ball, the defensive line has to adapt to a post-Bosa front that will also be without Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas and Dre Greenlaw, with a secondary still absent All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.

It’s officially calling all cars for the 49ers, but they won’t have to contend with Saquon Barkley (torn ACL) — the Giants signed Devonta Freeman this week to aid in that regard — or Sterling Shepard (turf toe). Both stars were moved to injured reserve this week by the Giants. The team who can best overcome their injuries will leave with the win, but the 49ers are truly up against it here.

So, what does that mean for your fantasy team? CBS Sports fantasy expert Chris Towers says while it’s possible Freeman gets up to speed quickly, it’s unlikely, so you should probably just avoid the Giants backfield altogether.

As for the Niners, Towers says, “How much does Jerick McKinnon play? The assumption is he’ll take on a larger role with Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman out, but he just hasn’t played very much even while looking pretty good. If they’re still limiting his work, McKinnon could be a disappointment against a good matchup.” 

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