ProFootballDoc: Good News For Niners TE George Kittle

The 49ers take on the Packers tonight, just as they have overtaken the Eagles to lead the league in injuries. Every skill position is injured, making San Francisco a fantasy nightmare, though there is some good news for TE George Kittle. Meanwhile, the Bears cannot make a change at QB for a few weeks even if they wanted to. The Lions will have to fly their QB in on the morning of the game on a private charter to play. Such is this unusual season.

Mitch Trubisky played one snap in Week 8 and subluxed/dislocated his throwing shoulder. Studying video, it looks to be the same type of capsule/labral injury as in 2018 right before Thanksgiving when he missed two games. In 2019, Trubisky dislocated his left shoulder and had offseason surgery. This is his throwing shoulder which did not have surgery after the 2018 injury. With the Titans and Vikings up next before a bye, the Week 12 Packers game is likely the next chance for the Bears to make a change at QB. Like it or not, Matt Nagy is stuck with Nick Foles until then.

Matt Stafford had a false positive earlier this season, but he did not learn his lesson to stay socially distanced. He was therefore deemed "high risk" and will spend five days on the COVID list. He will not be cleared in time and thus not allowed to travel with the Lions to Minnesota on Saturday. Assuming he continues to test negative, the team could charter a private plane for him on the morning of the game. The unintended upside of an extra night with her husband at home might keep this week's grievances from Mrs. Stafford to a minimum. 

Von Miller's season was declared over when he hurt his ankle during the preseason, but we emphatically stated at the time that he would be able to return this year.  Now, Miller is out of a boot and says he is three weeks away from a comeback.

San Francisco tight end Kittle had his year declared over on Monday. The organization issued statements that he may miss eight weeks or more. Now with GM John Lynch indicating a cuboid fracture, it is my strong belief his season is not done. Kittle's own estimate of two weeks is optimistic, but I feel he can be back within six weeks. The cuboid bone is a cube-shaped bone on the outside of the foot and is rarely fractured. Due to its box-like shape though, it is also quite stable and doesn't need surgery. In fact, it took a special CT scan to see the non-displaced fracture. Because of this information and my previous NFL team physician experience, I am confident that as long as the 49ers are still in the playoff hunt, Kittle can and will return this regular season.

In the meantime, his team has to take on the Packers tonight without a single starting offensive weapon. A quick look at the field view shows the QB, 3 RBs, 3 WRs, TE as well as two of the five offensive line starters out this week, giving the 49ers an all-time low passing offense grade of "D."

In Monday morning's article, we suggested you jump on the Packers in anticipation of a line move. The Packers were then -2.5 before the injuries were announced. Now the line is 7 (or higher), which could have been an easy set up for a huge middle play to win double at little risk.

It is amazing that the 49ers defense is now the stronger side of the ball when they have had a record number of injuries themselves. Such is the craziness that 2020 has provided.

Written by
David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.