Deebo Samuel broke his left foot on June 16. It nearly has been eight weeks since the injury, and the 49ers receiver is taking his rehab head-on.
Samuel, 24, is expected to miss 12 to 16 weeks after he underwent surgery. Ever since the injury, though, Samuel has vowed to be back sooner and predicted a 10-week recovery. On Sunday, he posted a seven-week update to his Instagram.
There's no doubt Samuel wants to make it back before the 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13 at Levi's Stadium. The reality is that it likely won't happen.
“(We’re) not going to put an exact timeline on it, but I think it’s fair to say he may well miss some games early in the year,” general manager John Lynch said late last month.
The 2019 second-round draft pick impressed everyone as a versatile option in his rookie year. Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns in 15 regular-season games. He then set the Super Bowl record for rushing yards from a wide receiver with 53 yards on three attempts.
No matter how big of a loss Samuel will be, the 49ers can't rush him back. If he remains on the non-football injury list at the start of the regular season, he would be ineligible to practice or play for the first six weeks of the regular season. And if that does happen, then so be it.
Receivers like Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, Brandon Aiyuk and Dante Pettis will have to step up in Samuel's absence. The 49ers don't have the most experienced group, but there's a lot of talent there to work with. Rushing Samuel back simply isn't worth it.
[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]