NFC Championship Game: 49ers’ Deebo Samuel looks on track to face Lions

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers essentially have a clean bill of health entering Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, with only wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s status a tad bit in the air whether he’ll face the Detroit Lions.

Byut Samuel practiced a second straight day Friday, after missing Wednesday’s session because of an unspecified shoulder injury that knocked him out of Saturday’s divisional-round win over Green Bay.

All other 49ers are fully expected to play, including a handful who’ve had injuries worth charting in recent weeks: defensive tackle Arik Armstead (foot, knee), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (Achilles), safety George Odum (biceps), and cornerback Ambry Thomas (hand).

Going into last year’s NFC Championship Game loss at Philadelphia, the 49ers only listed one player as out, and that was Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving the 49ers short-handed with just Josh Johnson backing up Brock Purdy in a game both got injured. Thomas (ankle) and running back Elijah Mitchell (groin) were questionable but did not suit up for that finale.

#49ers Deebo Samuel is participating in final official practice before NFC Championship Game vs Detroit Lions

PS: Niners DJ is playing Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on loudspeakers

— Cam Inman (@CamInman) January 26, 2024

Samuel has not missed a playoff game in his five-year career, and this will be his 10th game. His NFC Championship Game productions from past appearances: 2019 — 89 total yards (45 receiving, 43 rushing); 2021 — 124 yards (72 receiving yards, touchdown; 26 rushing; 26 kick return); and, 2022 — 89 total yards (33 receiving, minus-9 rushing, 65 kick return).

Running back Christian McCaffrey, the NFL’s 2023 rushing king and the 49ers’ two-touchdown scorer last game, says Samuel’s presence is invaluable.

“It influences the defense a lot,” McCaffrey said Thursday. “In order to do that, you have to have the right mentality. I look at the way him, AIyuk, Jauan, George and Juice, how they commit to doing their job, whether they have the ball or not. In order to really have an effect, you have do things right when you have the ball or not.

“Even if he’s just in motion, getting people to put eyes in him (is impactful), because when he has the ball in his hands, it’s pretty scary.”


The Lions’ biggest question mark revolved around center Frank Ragnow, but he was not even listed on their final injury report and, after missing practices the past two days, is fully expected to play through injuries to his ankle, toe, knee, and back.

Left guard Jonah Jackson (knee) and wide receiver Kalif Raymonnd (knee) are out.

Questionable are quarterback Hendon Hooker (tooth) and cornerback Chase Lucas (illness). Off the injury list are linebacker Alex Anzalone (shoulder, ribs) and wide receivers Josh Reynolds (ribs).


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