San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week he was skeptical starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and All-Pro tight end George Kittle could return this year.

But 49ers general manager John Lynch is slightly more optimistic.

Lynch said during a recent radio interview the team is “hopeful” both Garoppolo and Kittle will be available before the end of the year, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

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The 49ers will wait until Garoppolo and Kittle are deemed not at risk for further injury.

Garoppolo has not played since Week 8 due to a high-ankle sprain that has given him trouble all year long. Kittle also has not played since Week 8 after suffering a fractured cuboid bone in his foot.

Meanwhile, the 49ers have battled to stay in playoff position, though that effort has been mostly unsuccessful. San Francisco has lost four of its last five, including a loss to the Buffalo Bills on Monday.

Nick Mullens has had a tough time filling in for Garoppolo. Mullens has thrown at least one interception and six total picks in the last four games. He made some strong throws in the second half of the team's loss to the Bills, but the Niners' defense simply could not stop Josh Allen and Co.

The next two games will likely determine whether Garoppolo and Kittle return, if they are cleared. San Francisco has a date with the Washington Football Team on Sunday, with the Football Team still on a high after knocking off the previously undefeated Steelers.

Should the 49ers win that game, they have an excellent chance of getting to 7-7 the following week against the Dallas Cowboys. The final two games are divisional matchups against the Seahawks and Cardinals, which could determine San Francisco's playoff hopes.

In any case, Lynch is hoping the team can scrap to give Garoppolo and Kittle the chance to come back and play again this year.