George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo and 9 other Niners won’t play this week

New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo headline the long list of Niners that will miss Week 3’s game against the Giants.

The San Francisco 49ers officially ruled star tight end George Kittle out for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, per Adam Schefter, with a knee injury suffered in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals keeping him sidelined for the second consecutive week.

With starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also ruled out, it is fair to wonder whether the MetLife Stadium turf has anything to do with the decision. The 49ers suffered some brutal injuries in the same stadium during Week 2, with Garoppolo, defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, and running back Raheem Mostert all going down.

The team complained to the league about the turf conditions, and the New York Daily News reports that the NFL conducted additional testing on the field. However, Ian Rapoport later reported that the field has been cleared, despite San Francisco’s concerns.

While playing without a bunch of starters is never ideal, San Francisco may have felt more confident sitting Kittle and Garoppolo when considering their Week 3 opponent. The New York Giants have been abysmal so far in 2020, and with star running back Saquon Barkley out for the season with a torn ACL, San Francisco is still favored despite a rash of injuries.

The offense is likely to look different without Kittle, however. The All-Pro provides a unique combination of elite blocking and receiving talent, a quandary which teams have clearly had trouble solving in the past. With Nick Mullens and Jordan Reed filling in, fans should expect Kyle Shanahan to lean on his deep stable of running backs.

Kittle practiced in a limited fashion this week, so a return to action in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles should not be out of the question. However, with concerns about the MetLife turf still fresh and the Giants unlikely to provide much resistance, San Francisco is likely wise to give its stars some rest on Sunday.

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