The 49ers were without Brandon Aiyuk in Week 3, and they could now be without Deebo Samuel in Week 4 against the Cardinals.
It doesn't always happen, though.
The Niners were without Aiyuk (shoulder) for their Week 3 victory over the New York Giants, but Samuel took advantage of the extra targets and had himself a moster game: six catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately, on one of those plays, Samuel went down with an injury that looked scarier than it actually ended up being. Fortunately, a perceived ribs injury wasn't going to be too serious, as the All-Pro wideout told reporters shortly after the game.
However, Samuel did wind up on San Francisco's Week 4 injury report, and there's a good chance he won't be available for Sunday's game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.
And it's not just the ribs injury.
Will 49ers WR Deebo Samuel play vs. Cardinals in Week 4?
Aiyuk already came off the Week 4 injury report, and head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that the receiver would be "good to go."
Samuel, however, wasn't only dealing with the ramifications of a minor ribs injury, but Shanahan also pointed out that a knee issue was causing some pain, too.
"I think his rib feels good," Shanahan said. "I think that’s not a problem for him. Just had to stay off his legs most of this week to get some of the soreness out of his knee. He was able to go some today for the first time. So that gives him a chance there for Sunday."
Related story: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel injury history
Officially, Samuel is listed as questionable on the injury report. That could make him a gametime decision for Sunday.
In addition, fellow wideout Jauan Jennings (shin) is listed as doubtful, and the 49ers are planning on elevating one of two practice squad wide receivers, Chris Conley or Willie Snead, to help plug the void.
Perhaps both, assuming Jennings and Samuel are absent.
If so, Samuel is confident in a "next man up" mentality that worked well last week during Aiyuk's absence.
"I take real pride in kind of like last week," Aiyuk told The Athletic's David Lombardi. "Brandon was down, so it was good to know Ronnie Bell and Ray-Ray [McCloud] just be there to help the team as much as possible. We want B.A. to be out there, but it's kind of a good thing because, at the end of the day, injuries happen.
"So it just has to be that next-man-up mentality, and for the guys to be ready for the moment, and don't let the moment get too big."
For now, though, it's likely Samuel winds up being a gametime decision.
Update: Early on Sunday morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter cited a source that said Samuel would play despite the injury concerns and questionable designation:
The Niners and Cardinals kick off on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 4:25 p.m. ET from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.