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49ers WR Deebo Samuel cautious in return, initially thought injury was season-ending

Jan 4, 2023 at 2:59 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers expect to have wide receiver Deebo Samuel back for the playoffs. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has even expressed interest in having his star player get work in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. However, Samuel isn't willing to return to the football field before he is confident he is completely recovered.

Does that mean we might not see the receiver play this weekend?

"Not necessarily trying to push [to play this weekend]," Samuel told reporters from the locker room ahead of Wednesday's practice. "I'm not going to risk myself. If I'm not 100 percent ready to go, I'm not going to go out there."

Samuel suffered MCL and ankle sprains against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 11. Initially, the injury looked much worse than it ended up being. Given that an emotional Samuel was carted off the field, most thought we might have seen the last of the receiver this season. That includes Samuel.

"I thought I was done," Samuel admitted. "I've never been in a position like that in my 15 years playing. It was kind of a scary scene, but just knowing that I came out of it is just crazy."

Samuel believes that the ankle surgery he underwent in college likely kept this latest injury from being worse.

"It kind of protected my left leg a lot," Samuel said. "But after getting the [MRI] results, I thanked God that I was able to come out of that and able to continue to play the game this year, and all praise to the most high."

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