49ers WR Samuel likely done for regular season


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Barring a surprise turn of events, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel has likely played his final snaps for the 2020 season after suffering a hamstring strain in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Football Team.

“He’s going to be out awhile, not ready to put a timeline on it yet,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “I think we’d have to make the playoffs for him to come back.”

That’s a long-shot scenario that would almost certainly require the 5-8 Niners, who are two games out of the final NFC playoff spot with three games to go, to win their next three and get plenty of help elsewhere.

Samuel departed Sunday’s loss after just one snap, a 9-yard carry on the team’s first play from scrimmage, and did not return. He had an MRI on Monday that showed he had his second hamstring strain of the season. Earlier this year, Samuel missed three games because of a similar injury.

If he has played his final game in 2020, Samuel will have appeared in just seven games because of a variety of injuries.

After suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot in the offseason, Samuel missed the first three games, returned, played two games and suffered that first hamstring injury that cost him three more games. He returned again and then played two games plus the one snap Sunday before the latest hamstring injury.

While Samuel is unlikely to play again this season, there is hope that tight end George Kittle could return before it’s over. Shanahan said Monday that he’s hoping Kittle will be able to practice in some capacity this week as he works his way back from a foot injury.

But quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who went on injured reserve at the same time as Kittle with a high ankle sprain, will not open his practice window this week.

It remains possible that Garoppolo also won’t play again this season.

“I wouldn’t say I’m confident [in Garoppolo returning this season],” Shanahan said. “I think it’s up in the air. I’m waiting to hear from the doctors. It’s something that when you have the high ankle sprain that he had that was worse than everyone else and was so close to surgery, the only way we’re gonna put him out there is if it’s completely healed. We’re not going to risk him having to get surgery on it. I don’t want to put him out there for a last game or last two games to have a chance of reinjuring it and have to have surgery in the offseason.”

Shanahan said the Niners would reevaluate Garoppolo before next week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. For this week’s contest against Dallas, Shanahan was noncommittal about who will play in Garoppolo’s stead.

Nick Mullens has been the starter but struggled with turnovers, including two that turned into Washington touchdowns in Sunday’s loss. C.J. Beathard is the other healthy option on the active roster.

“We’ll think about everything,” Shanahan said. “I’m up for anything right now, so we’ll see how that goes over the next couple days.”

In addition to updates on Samuel, Kittle and Garoppolo, Shanahan said running back Raheem Mostert (ankle) and linebacker Fred Warner (stinger) were getting more imaging done on their injuries and he’d have a better idea of their status on Wednesday. Center Daniel Brunskill has a shoulder sprain and is considered day-to-day, according to Shanahan.

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