Deebo Samuel is back.
The San Francisco 49ers’ star wide receiver returned to practice Thursday after dealing with knee and ankle ailments. Exited in the second quarter.
It’s unclear if Samuel is fit for the 49ers in Sunday’s game against the Raiders. His participation in the regular season finale with the Arizona Cardinals seems more likely.
Of course, Samuel’s health going into the postseason is a top priority. The 49ers are the hottest team in football, winning eight in a row and already winning the NFC West. They currently hold the No. 3 seed in the NFC, one game behind the Minnesota Vikings.
Samuel not only adds to the Niners’ arsenal of skill players to help rookies start quarterback Brock Purdy, but remains one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons. Despite missing out, only Austin Ekeler and teammate Christian McCaffrey have more receiving (612) and rushing (228) yards than Samuel.
In 2021, Samuel earned All-Pro honors after becoming the first player in league history to reach 1,400 receiving yards and 300 rushing yards in the same season. He added another 291 yards from scrimmage in his three playoff games.
If the 49ers make a deep run again, Samuel could be more important than anyone else.
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