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San Francisco 49ers star TE George Kittle to return vs. Arizona Cardinals

By Connor Grott

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to activate Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle from injured reserve, clearing the way for him to play against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.

Kittle hasn’t played since suffering a fractured cuboid bone in his right foot during a Nov. 1 loss to the division rival Seattle Seahawks. He missed the team’s next six games because of that foot injury.

“He looked great this week,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Thursday. “Just talked to him, he said he felt good here after practice so I’m expecting him to go.”

The 49ers plan to remove Kittle from injured reserve despite being eliminated from postseason contention. The star pass-catcher wanted to return even though the 49ers (5-9) have little to play for in the last two weeks of the regular season.

“[Shanahan] asked me if I wanted to play and I said, ‘Hell yes,'” Kittle told reporters. “And he said, ‘Sounds good.’ That was our conversation.

“… That’s why I’m coming back, because I have a very sour taste in my mouth. I hate losing football games and I hate it when I don’t perform at a high level, so ending on an injury is not very fun and I know that anybody can say that who has missed games.

“So, the fact I get two opportunities, especially against division opponents, I can let them know that I’m still here and I will be for multiple years to come. I’m really excited about that to get a chance to play these next two weeks.”

In six games this season, Kittle — a two-time Pro Bowl selection — has recorded 37 receptions for 474 yards and two touchdowns.

The 49ers will play the Cardinals (8-6) at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

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