After finishing their Week 6 contest without Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel on the field, the 49ers are set to be without at least the latter for the time being. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Saturday that Samuel is dealing with a hairline fracture in his shoulder and that he will miss a minimum of the next two games as a result.
San Francisco is set to play Minnesota on Monday to close out Week 7, followed by a home matchup against the Bengals. The 49ers then have their bye week, so Samuel’s next game will come no earlier than Week 10, giving the team plenty of time to determine their course of action with the 27-year-old. Another evaluation will take place after the bye week, Shanahan added.
Regardless of the length of Samuel’s absence, his injury will leave San Francisco without one of its highly versatile offensive weapons. The All-Pro has posted a 20-302-1 statline in the passing game to date, while adding 95 yards and another score on the ground. Today’s news adds to Samuel’s injury history, however, which has seen him miss time in each of his five seasons in the NFL.
Samuel was limited to seven games in 2020, his second campaign in San Francisco. Various ailments have popped up since then, though the South Carolina alum managed to play 16 games the following season and 13 last year. His lack of an extension last offseason led to a public trade request, but he ultimately signed a three-year, $71.55MM deal. Samuel failed to duplicate his 1,770 total-yard performance from the previous year in 2022, and this latest injury will hurt his production as well.
The 49ers also have wideout Brandon Aiyuk in place as a key cog in their passing game, as is the case for tight end George Kittle. That pair will assume a larger share of the 49ers’ targets on offense, while 2020 seventh-rounder Jauan Jennings (who has posted a 41% snap share this season) could be in line for an uptick in playing time. McCaffrey has been the subject of speculation for his Week 7 availability, but he practiced on Saturday and appears to be on track to suit up on Monday. Regardless of if that happens or not, though, Samuel will not be available for at least a short stretch.