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49ers being patient with ‘hurting' Deebo's NFC title game status

49ers being patient with ‘hurting' Deebo's NFC title game status originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Deebo Samuel’s status figures to be a major storyline this week as the 49ers prepare to face the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game on Sunday in Santa Clara.

Coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday afternoon said the wide receiver did not sustain a fractured shoulder, which increases his chances of being available for the biggest game of the season.

The 49ers face the Lions on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium with a trip to Super Bowl LVIII on the line.

“It wasn’t broken, so that was a real good sign,” Shanahan said Monday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“But he’s still hurting too much for us to really have an idea how it’s going to heal up this week. So we got to be patient and see how he feels on Wednesday. Based off if it’s improving, it’ll give us a better idea if he has a chance for the game or not.”

Samuel’s versatility is unique, so both teams must prepare for scenarios in which he does or does not see action.

“If we know he’s not available, which hopefully we would know that Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, at least in those three days, then it makes it easier at least from a game-plan standpoint. You don’t have to do much,” Shanahan said.

“But if there’s any chance, which I think we’ll know by Wednesday, obviously there’ll be things in there for him.”

The 49ers have a day off on Tuesday before holding their first full practice of the week on Wednesday at the team’s Santa Clara headquarters.

Samuel sustained an injury on the 49ers’ fourth play from scrimmage Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs. After catching a short pass from quarterback Brock Purdy, Samuel picked up 9 yards and was fighting for additional yardage when Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander arrived and delivered a direct hit to his left shoulder.

Samuel initially was evaluated for a head injury and was cleared to return to the game, but did not have any more touches in his limited action.

He played a total of nine snaps in the game, and was ruled out of action with a shoulder injury as the 49ers returned to the field for the opening of the second half.

Samuel told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan that he was “OK,” however the fact Samuel was unable to return to action for the second half of a playoff game was proof that he was not all right to continue to play.

This is the second injury this season to Samuel’s left shoulder, as he was removed from a Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns. It was later discovered he sustained a hairline fracture, which caused him to miss the next two games. He returned to action four weeks after the injury, as the 49ers had their bye week during that time.

Samuel, of course, is a huge part of the 49ers’ offense, having caught 60 passes for 892 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season while adding 225 yards and five touchdowns on 37 rushing attempts.

Samuel is the second player in NFL history to register at least 4,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing in the first five seasons of his career. Hall of Famer Charley Taylor, who played from 1964 to ’77 with Washington, was the first player to accomplish that achieve that receiving-rushing milestone.

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