Deebo Samuel is working hard to rehab from a Jones fracture in his right foot so that he can suit up when the 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 at Levi's Stadium.
Coach Kyle Shanahan is "hopeful" Samuel will be good to go Sept. 13, giving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo all the necessary weapons right out of the gate. On Wednesday, Samuel posted a short video to his Instagram Stories, giving fans a glimpse at the progress he has made since the injury occurred two months ago.
While Samuel running sprints is a good sign, obviously, the straight-line running isn't the biggest issue when it comes to Jones fractures. Samuel's recovery truly will be tested when he starts making lateral cuts at full speed.
Samuel's original timeline to return was between 12 and 16 weeks, but Jones fractures are tricky injuries that often result in setbacks and multiple surgeries. Trent Taylor missed all of last season after needing to undergo five surgeries to repair his Jones fracture. No matter Samuel's progress, the 49ers will be slow and cautious with his return to action, wanting him to truly be 100 percent before he returns.
The 49ers' receiving corps has been hit by the injury bug early on. Samuel might have to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, which would cause him to miss six games, and Jalen Hurd will miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in practice. Richie James Jr. also is expected to miss the beginning of the season as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken wrist.
If Samuel is unable to go Week 1, the 49ers will have to rely on Kendrick Bourne, rookie Brandon Aiyuk and Taylor to shoulder to load in the passing game, along with tight end George Kittle.
Samuel was poised for a breakout sophomore season. After coming on late in 2019, Samuel was a key part of the 49ers' offensive attack in Super Bowl LIV and was ready to take the No. 1 receiver mantle after Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency.
The Jones fracture was a setback, but it looks like Samuel is doing everything he can to be on the field when the 2020 season kicks off.