Deebo Samuel will be on the field on Sunday when the 49ers welcome the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game, and that’s just as much a relief for the Faithful as it is for the All-Pro receiver.
Shortly after Samuel suffered a shoulder injury early in last week’s divisional playoff round victory over the Green Bay Packers, he believed he might have suffered the same type of ailment he did in Week 6, which made him miss two games.
“At the time, it was hurting really bad,” Samuel said Friday.
“I was kind of scared a little bit. I thought I had fractured it again, and I was all over the place. In a big game like that, I had a million emotions on the sideline trying to hold it together for my team.”
Samuel has been a huge part of the 49ers’ offense since his Week 9 return, catching 40 of 57 targets for 590 yards and six touchdowns, along with 19 carries for 130 yards and four more scores.
“Being on the sideline was.. that was different,” Samuel said.
“Because you can’t do like.. nothing you can do besides encourage your teammates, and try to give them all the energy and everything they need to win. So, I feel like it’s more stressful just watching, for sure.”
Samuel commended the team’s training and medical staff, which helped him manage the pain and recover his strength and mobility enough to play Sunday. He added that it was a time-consuming process, but he’s thankful to be ready for the game.
Samuel also lauded his teammates for doing enough to win last week, especially on the final drive, which ended in the game-sealing TD. After receiving a negative MRI the next day while he still was in pain, Samuel knew he’d be able to recover enough to play.
“Just to see them get the dub, and stuff, that was kind of relief as well,” Samuel said.
“Just to know I have an extra week to figure out what was going on.”
As far as if the injury will limit him in the game and he’ll need to protect his shoulder, Samuel had a very simple answer.
“I ain’t protecting nothing,” he said.
That prospect has his coach and his quarterback excited.
“A little scary at the beginning of the week, but the fact he was able to go full go today and no restrictions on him is definitely a good thing for us,” said coach Kyle Shanahan, who added that Samuel’s injury is “kind of out of sight, out of mind right now” because he’s full go.
“Deebo is a game-changer,” 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy said.
“He is one of the best in the NFL at what he does. So obviously, for him to be able to play, all of us are like, all right.
“Deebo brings some juice and energy, and we’ve got his back, and so obviously seeing him run around at practice and look good for us, it’s like, all right, it’s on. So, we’re excited for him.”
And excited for where a fully loaded offense with Samuel could take the 49ers on Sunday.