Niners TE George Kittle (groin) inactive for season opener vs. Bears

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle missed each of his team’s practices this past week and he’ll miss the season opener, as well.

Kittle, who’s dealing with a groin injury, is officially inactive for Sunday’s game against the host Chicago Bears.

Reports of the groin injury popped up early in the week and seemingly out of nowhere, but the odds of Kittle suiting up grew longer as he was unable to practice and garnered a questionable designation on Friday.

A three-time Pro Bowler who’s lauded for his overall game, Kittle has missed multiple outings in each of the last three seasons. Last year, he played in 14 games and tallied 71 receptions for 910 yards and a career-high six touchdowns.

As the injury bug would have it, Kittle will miss his second game in as many seasons against the Bears. He was unavailable in a Week 8 contest last year, but the Niners prevailed, 33-22, versus Chicago. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started that game, though, and second-year QB Trey Lance will get the start on Sunday. With the Lance era getting underway, it’s certainly not ideal to kick off the season without Kittle.

San Francisco is 6-8 sans Kittle over the previous five seasons and had lost five in a row without the former All-Pro until last year’s defeat of the Bears.

Charlie Woerner is likely to get the start at tight end in Kittle’s place as the 49ers kick off 2022 minus one of their most valuable players.

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