Deebo Samuel practiced for the San Francisco 49ers for the second day in a row. According to the beat reporters at practice, Samuel had no issues catching the ball in any capacity during individual drills.
Kyle Shanahan confirmed that Samuel’s shoulder was more of a tolerance thing. He’s not listed on the injury report, which is fantastic news. Shanahan said, “he might,” when asked whether Samuel would return kicks. According to Shanahan, there’s also no chance of Samuel hurting his shoulder any worse.
The question was never whether Samuel would suit up for the NFC Championship. It’s how high his pain tolerance is in his shoulder. If Deebo is involved in the first series, then Kyle Shanahan’s under the impression that Samuel is as close to 100 percent as you can be on January 26.
Deebo said it was a relief once he found out his injury wasn’t severe. He called it a “deep bruise.”
He was animated at the podium on Friday. When asked how he plans on protecting himself, Deebo answered, “I ain’t protecting nothin.” Someone brought up playing against Chauncey Garnder-Johnson, and Deebo cut them off mid-sentence.
His best response came when describing whether watching the 49ers from the sideline on the final drive was more stressful than being involved. Without hesitation, Deebo said from the sideline.
If Deebo’s on the field, it’s a win for the offense, even if it’s in more of a decoy role. How Deebo is used is also something to keep an eye on. With how blitz-heavy the Lions are, Samuel is the screen weapon the 49ers didn’t have against the Packers.
Detroit is the type of defense that Samuel breaks a long touchdown against. He had a 79-yard touchdown the last time these two teams played.
Linebacker Oren Burks is questionable with a shoulder injury. Defensive tackle Kalia Davis is questionable with an ankle injury. That’s the extent of the 49ers injury report.
According to The Athletic's Matt Barrows, there were nearly five times as many reporters on hand. Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke about the extra attention players are dealing with:
The Lions ruled out left guard Jonah Jackson with a knee injury. Center Frank Ragnow is not listed on the injury report and practiced in full on Friday.
Tight end Sam LaPorta is also off the injury report despite wearing a bulky brace two weeks ago. 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks saw a healthy LaPorta on tape last week:
“LaPorta had a hyperextended knee. I don’t see it on tape. He’s getting in and out of his breaks. He’s catching the ball and getting vertical up the field. So it’s going to be a difficult task for us.”