49ers news: Deebo Samuel suffers broken foot, will require surgery

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The 49ers wide receiver room took a bit of a hit with Deebo Samuel suffering a broken foot on Thursday.

The San Francisco 49ers could potentially be hurting early this season at wide receiver, as their star second-year pro, Deebo Samuel, suffered a broken foot during a throwing session in Nashville, Tennessee, and the injury will require surgery.

The report was first produced by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who indicated it was a Jones fracture.

Rapoport also reported it was a “Jones fracture, and he should be able to be on the field early in the season.”

Samuel, who led all Niners wideouts with 802 receiving yards last season, was expected to be a critical part of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Shanahan also used the then-rookie playmaker as a legitimate rushing threat, too, as three of Samuel’s six total touchdowns came on the ground.

The 49ers received some exemplary production from their second-round NFL Draft pick, and there were plenty of reasons to be excited about his potential in year two.

Samuel joined quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and a number of San Francisco’s other offensive players in impromptu practice sessions to make up for some of the lost time in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns. The Niners remain the lone team not yet allowed to return to team facilities, although that could change in the coming weeks.

On the positive side of things, Rapoport’s report speculates Samuel should be able to return early this season. Last year, however, wide receiver Trent Taylor also suffered a Jones fracture which sidelined him for the entirety of 2019.

The Niners clearly hope that isn’t the case.

Other 49ers who must step up in Deebo Samuel’s absence

San Francisco retained wide receiver Kendrick Bourne on his restricted free-agent tender for 2020, and one should expect the former undrafted free agent to build upon his 30-catch, 358-yard, five-touchdown campaign from a year ago.

Behind Bourne, however, the Niners’ wide receiver room is a little less impressive. True, the team used a first-round NFL Draft pick on former Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, while seventh-round rookie wideout Jauan Jennings out of Tennessee could provide some of the physicality Samuel also possesses.

But both are rookies, and it’s premature to hold lofty expectations for either player.

Taylor’s pending return is a boost, as is second-year pro Jalen Hurd, who also missed all of last season on IR. Samuel’s injury also opens up the door for third-year wide receiver Dante Pettis, whose regression in 2019 was well-documented, to bounce back from an otherwise forgettable year.

While Samuel’s absence creates a significant obstacle in the 49ers’ hopeful return to the Super Bowl, it does open up some additional opportunities for the team’s remaining pass catchers.

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Shanahan and Co. will need those depth receivers to produce well enough early in 2020 now.