Deebo Samuel: Wide receiver’s injury history and updates

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

Deebo Samuel has plenty of talents and is an offensive force. But as the 49ers found out in 2020, he also has a sizable injury risk.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel is a polarizing player, at least in terms of the risk-reward factor with regards to his on-field abilities versus his overall health.

The Niners found this out the hard way in 2020, a year after using a second-round NFL Draft pick on him out of South Carolina, when Samuel was looking to back up what was an impressive rookie campaign the year before.

Except Samuel’s offseason foot fracture set in motion numerous other injuries that limited him to just seven games played his second season in the league.

Samuel, who had 961 all-purpose yards in his rookie season in 2019, was supposed to be a top breakout candidate in 2020. Now, in line with injuries suffered that year and looking back at the ones suffered during his college days, Samuel is also carrying the reputation of being an injury risk.

San Francisco is hoping to avoid that pitfall.

Let’s dive deeper into Samuel’s injury history and what might lie in store beyond.

Deebo Samuel injury history

Deebo Samuel ankle, knee injuries, 2022

In Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Samuel appeared to suffer a serious leg injury when two Bucs defenders rolled on top of him. After being carted off the field, it was fair to think the injury was of the season-ending variety.

However, there were no breaks, and Samuel was only ruled out a few weeks before returning toward the end of the regular season.

Deebo Samuel groin injury, 2021

Samuel suffered what appeared to be a minor groin injury in the 49ers’ Week 12 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Deebo Samuel hamstring injuries, 2020

Perhaps it had something to do with his fractured foot earlier during the year, but Samuel unfortunately has dealt with hamstring injuries for much of his playing days, including dating back to his collegiate years at South Carolina.

In 2020, Samuel dealt with two specific Grade 2 hamstring strains, the first coming just before halftime in Week 7 against the New England Patriots on a questionable rush play. The injury forced him out for three games, although Samuel returned for another three weeks before reaggravating the injury in Week 14 versus the Washington Football Team, which subsequently ended his season.

Deebo Samuel foot fracture, 2020

The biggest concern of Samuel’s pro career to date was that offseason Jones fracture early in 2020.

During an impromptu workout with fellow Niners teammates, Samuel suffered the injury and required offseason surgery, which resulted in him missing all of training camp and also the first three games of the regular season.

Samuel recovered well from the injury, as Jones fractures aren’t necessarily easy to heal from. Yet there’s the chance his subsequent injuries were related.

Deebo Samuel groin strain, 2019

Samuel suffered a Grade 2 groin strain against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5 and missed the following week’s game against Washington.

Deebo Samuel broken leg, 2017

One of Samuel’s most devastating injuries came in Week 3 during his junior year in a game versus Kentucky where he suffered a broken fibula in his right leg.

This ended his season, unfortunately, but not before Samuel registered an impressive 280 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns before suffering the injury.

Deebo Samuel hamstring strain, 2016

Nagging hamstring injuries from the previous year forced Samuel to miss three of South Carolina’s 13 games in 2016, yet he still managed 881 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns.

Deebo Samuel hamstring strain, 2015

The hamstring issues Samuel had dealt with go all the way back to his freshman season with the Gamecocks, where he missed a total of seven games because of a Grade 2 strain. He suffered the injury during South Carolina’s first week of the season.

Deebo Samuel injury outlook for 49ers in 2021

Sports Injury Predictor suggests Samuel has an 82 percent chance of missing at least two quarters of football in 2021, and the same prediction machine suggests he misses 2.6 games this season, too.

Granted, much of those predictions likely stemmed from Samuel’s most recent setback. And collegiate injuries don’t automatically translate over into a slew of injuries at the pro level either.

Just ask 49ers fans about running back Frank Gore.

Still, Samuel will hope to stay healthy over the course of 2021 and beyond, especially in light of his most recent setbacks.

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