SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Injured 49ers center Daniel Kilgore doesn't expect to return to the field as soon as he's eligible Week 7 for a Thursday night game against the Seahawks, he told Niners Digest.
"I’m pretty sure guys are smart enough to not want to bring someone on off an injured or PUP (list) during a short week. It could probably be Week 10. I don’t know. There’s no time frame really," Kilgore said.
Kilgore started the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list after suffering a lower leg fracture in last October's loss to the Denver Broncos.
He's eligible to resume practice starting next week in preparation for Seattle. Once he returns to practice, the 49ers will have a 21-day window to either elevate him to the active roster or shut him down for the season by placing him on injured reserve.
Kilgore began running and doing conditioning drills leading up to Week 4's loss to the Green Bay Packers. In early warmups before the game, he was on the field snapping the ball to quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Conditioning has been the main focus, Kilgore said, but he still hasn't done anything beyond pushing a conditioning sled on his surgically repaired ankle. He has not started pushing the blocking sled or taking on any defenders in drills.
"I’m still progressing as far as running and running offensive line drills on air, snapping the ball and stepping, and going through the motions," Kilgore said. "But nothing with anybody just yet."
Kilgore had a second surgery after the team's training staff determined it wasn't happy with the healing progress following minicamp in June.
With Kilgore sidelined, the 49ers offensive line has struggled to find its footing, although the line play improved in last week's loss to the Giants. In that game, San Francisco rotated Jordan Devey and Andrew Tiller at right guard for the first time after Tiller was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday.
In Kilgore's place, second-year center Marcus Martin has struggled. Martin ranks 38th of 39 centers in Pro Football Focus' grading and hasn't excelled in either run blocking or pass protection after San Francisco used a third-round pick to select him in 2014.
While injured, Kilgore has been in all offensive line meetings, and said he shouldn't have any problem transitioning to new coordinator Geep Chryst's new offensive scheme once he's back in pads.
And although he isn't likely to play Week 7 on a short week, Kilgore will have three extra days to potentially begin preparing for following game Nov. 1 on the road against the St. Louis Rams.
"I think anytime that you’re able to go practice at full health, it’s just a matter of feeling comfortable with me going out there," Kilgore said, "me feeling comfortable and confident about it and actually able to be productive, be able to take on a bull rush if I got to. I don’t want to go out there and do anything stupid to re-injure myself."
In all likelihood, the 49ers will wait until the Wednesday after the Seahawks game to official open Kilgore's 21-day window. That would give the team until Nov. 18th to elevate him to the active roster in time for Nov. 22's game on the road against the Seahawks, at the latest.
Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
E-mail Niners Digest: NinersDigest@gmail.com