49ers DT Javon Kinlaw returns to the practice field Wednesday

Dec 21, 2022, 1:45 PM | Updated: 1:54 pm
Javon Kinlaw #99 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field prior to a game against the Green Bay P...
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Javon Kinlaw #99 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Sticking to the team’s plan, third-year defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw made his return to the practice field Wednesday for the San Francisco 49ers.

The Bay Area franchise announced Tuesday that Kinlaw’s practice window would be opened this week. Kinlaw, 25, has been on the injured reserve for almost three months, suffering from fluid buildup in his surgical-repaired ACL. The big man tried to play through it prior to Week 4 but the team ultimately decided to sit their former first-round draft pick.

He has been on the sidelines since.

The plan for Javon Kinlaw this week is to have him go through a heavy workout Tuesday, before re-joining practice Wednesday. That plan came to fruition.

It’s been a long journey for the former South Carolina Gamecock this season, but the 49ers feel confident that he can still make a big impact down the stretch run.

“I think as good as anyone can, it’s been so frustrating for him,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said about Javon Kinlaw Tuesday. “It’s been a long battle going back to the Cowboys game from a couple years ago. I know he feels as good as he’s felt. I know how hard he’s worked to get to this point. I know how pumped he is to have an opportunity to come back and be a part of a playoff team, so just talking to him this morning, he is geared up, ready to go as good as I’ve seen him and his spirits are high.”

The player himself is beaming with confidence, responding to the media with a pretty strong affirmation that he’ll be active for Week 16 Tuesday. His team, however, is more skeptical, wanting to be patient with the injury so that it doesn’t flare up again.

“There’s a high level that he can play, but that’s the whole thing with what he’s been going through with his knee,” Shanahan explained. “It’s ‘can he do it without it flaring up and having setbacks on it?’ And that’s what we’ve been very patient with in the rehab, he’s been extremely consistent with it and we’ve been able to do it for a while here without any setbacks and we’ve done as much as we can. The only thing left for him to do is put pads on and go out there and play, so there’s always a risk of it, but we’re at the point, he’s at the point, where it’s time to find out.”

Also taking the practice field for the second time all season was rookie DT Kalia Davis. The sixth-round pick out of UCF has been on the NFI list since the start of training camp, recovering from a college ACL tear. If the 49ers were to activate him this season, he would not count against the team’s remaining IR designations.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was also spotted doing light work off to the side of the field Wednesday. Samuel has been off the field since suffering an MCL and ankle sprain during the second quarter of Week 14’s clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite the sighting, don’t expect the offensive weapon to be rushed back onto the field, with his coach almost confirming that he would not be suing upon for Week 16.

“I think this week maybe there’d be a chance if we were that desperate, so I’m not even looking into it this week and we’ll see how he is next Monday and make that same decision,” Shanahan added.


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