Javon Kinlaw facing possible surgery, Trey Lance and George Kittle improving


Second-year 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw could undergo season-ending surgery to repair his chronically-injured knee. Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that Kinlaw was in Los Angeles for testing to see if surgery was necessary.

“We’ll figure that out -- whether he’ll need surgery and what kind of surgery,” Shanahan said. “I think we’ll get some news on that pretty soon.”

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Kinlaw hasn’t played since Week 5 as he deals with the nagging knee injury he first suffered in Week 15 last season against the Dallas Cowboys. The 24-year-old underwent knee surgery in January to help the problem but it still flared up this fall.

It’s a disappointing twist to Kinlaw’s young career. He entered the NFL as the 2020 No. 14 overall pick with high expectations, trying to fill in for departed team leader DeForest Buckner on the interior of the defensive line. While Kinlaw showed some flashes last year, he wasn’t the dominant force that Buckner was anchoring the d-line.

Kinlaw totaled eight tackles in four games this season and 33 in 14 games (12 starts) last year. Following this season, there are still two years left on Kinlaw’s rookie deal. Injury concerns may give credence to the belief that Kinlaw has been a bust since the 49ers drafted him.

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But Shanahan also delivered some positive injury news Wednesday.

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance (left knee sprain) is scheduled to return to practice Wednesday after missing all last week and sitting out Sunday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

“We’re going to put him in a couple reps there on scout team and see how he feels moving around and stuff,” Shanahan said. “See how he does in individual and see how it goes that way. If he can feel alright, no soreness after practice, we’ll pick it up [Thursday].”

Shanahan said star tight end George Kittle will return to practice next week as he rehabs from a calf injury that landed him on injured reserve before Week 5. Kittle will be eligible to return from the IR in Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals.