The San Francisco 49ers opened up the practice week with a short injury list, however, the only name on that list is one of the team's most significant playmakers. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who exited Saturday's Divisional Round game early with a shoulder injury, was the only 49ers player to miss the team's first workout of the week due to health concerns.
With the Detroit Lions headed to town in four days time, Samuel's availability remains up in the air for the NFC Championship Game.
"He's feeling better. It makes me feel better," head coach Kyle Shanahan said in his Wednesday press conference. "His shoulder hurts."
Samuel has played a critical role in San Francisco's high-powered offense for a number of reasons. The veteran wide receiver makes it difficult to game plan because he can line up all over the field and his physicality and acceleration allows him to turn short plays into big gains after the catch.
In 2023, San Francisco's Brock Purdy-led offense played the better part of four games without Samuel and came out on top in just one of those contests, the NFC Divisional Round game versus the Green Bay Packers. In those same games, the team's points per game average dropped from 32.8 to just 18.8.
On Sunday, the 49ers will go toe-to-toe with a high-powered Lions offense that was top five from scoring and will need to match their point-scoring ability to punch their ticket to the next round of the postseason.
"He's probably the best playmaker in this league," Purdy said. "You get the ball in his hands, he can do whatever he wants. He makes guys miss, breaks tackles, he's strong, he's tough, he's got grit, and we all feed off it. Deebo definitely gives us some juice and energy and momentum in our offense. If he's not playing, obviously that's tough on us, but we'll have guys to be able to play that can create that as well.) If you're asking me, we'd love for Deebo to play."
Veteran defensive lineman Nick Bosa and tackle Trent Williams also did not practice, taking their typical veteran rest days. Meanwhile, defensive lineman Kalia Davis, who landed on the Injured Reserve list in late December due to an ankle injury, had his 21-day practice window opened. Davis made appearances for San Francisco in Weeks 13 to 15 before suffering a high ankle sprain.