Kyle Shanahan “holding out hope” Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle can return

The 49ers have been without start tight end George Kittle and starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the last month, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m holding out hope for Jimmy for the last couple of weeks,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan said, via Cam Inman of The Mercury News. “Same with Kittle. I think they’re in a similar boat, but that I mean that’s not guaranteed.”

Garoppolo has been sidelined by a high-ankle sprain and Kittle a foot fracture. The 49ers lost their first two games after putting both players on injured reserve before defeating the Rams 23-20 after their bye week on Sunday.

“They’re just starting to get into where they get on the field and not with us but on their own to do some stuff,” Shanahan said.

Backup quarterback Nick Mullens has thrown for 790 yards with two touchdowns, four interceptions, and a lost fumble in his second stint starting for Garoppolo this season. Overall, Mullens has 1,642 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Shanahan told reporters he was “very happy” with the signal-caller’s performance against L.A.

Ross Dwelly and Jordan Reed have filled in for Kittle, the latter picking up more targets. Reed has 19 receptions for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2020.

Despite playing just six games this year, Kittle still leads the 49ers with 37 receptions and 474 yards receiving. He also has two touchdowns. In six games, Garoppolo has completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,096 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.