The San Francisco 49ers are still waiting to see the full potential of 2020 first-round defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
However, an ongoing knee issue has kept him from practicing much this season and has limited his effectiveness on the field.
“It’s a big concern this year,” Shanahan said on Wednesday, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s nothing against him, but it’s been unfortunate. His development is on hold. I was real excited how he started to end last year, especially at Dallas — it was one of his best. The Rams game I thought he was starting to turn into that player.”
Kinlaw injured his knee in the 49ers loss to the Cowboys last December. He had surgery to address the injury but he hasn’t bounced back quite as well as anticipated. He didn’t play in the team’s season opener against the Detroit Lions. He’s played in their last four games but has still not been as explosive as hoped.
Until the knee issues can be put behind him, Kinlaw seems stuck in a vicious cycle. His knee probably won’t be able to improve without more time not playing football. However, his football probably won’t improve without more time on the practice field.
“It has affected him all through this year,” Shanahan said. “That’s a setback now and that’s why he’s behind the eight ball this year, but I don’t think his story is totally finished being written yet. No one is upset with Kinlaw right now. It’s been unfortunate with what happened.”