49ers hopeful WR Deebo Samuel, DE Dee Ford will return to practice ahead of Bengals game

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49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan provided a little optimism Wednesday before San Francisco took the field to begin on-field preparations for their Week 14 showdown with the Bengals.

Shanahan told reporters he’s hopeful wide receiver Deebo Samuel and defensive end Dee Ford will both be back in practice for the 49ers on Thursday. Neither player participated in Wednesday’s session.

Samuel injured his groin against the Vikings in Week 12 and Shanahan indicated the injury would sideline him for one-to-two weeks. The star wide receiver didn’t practice or play in Week 13, so a return even in a limited fashion for Thursday’s practice would put him on track to potentially play in Cincinnati. Although it would stand to reason the team exercises extreme caution with Samuel in hopes he doesn’t aggravate the issue and make it a longer-term thing.

Ford’s practice status has been unknown since he doesn’t show up on the practice report while he’s still technically on injured reserve. However, his practice window was opened two weeks ago, and this is the third week it’s allowed to be open before he’s either activated or placed on season-ending IR. He hasn’t been at the portion of practice open to reporters since his window was initially opened, which indicates his participation has been limited at best.

Getting Ford to add a handful of pass rush snaps per game would be exceedingly helpful to a 49ers defense with a banged up secondary.

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49ers start Week 14 without WR Deebo Samuel in practice, Fred Warner returns