The 49ers may or may not have their offensive MVP when they play the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday.
Deebo Samuel has a calf injury and is questionable to suit up for the upcoming game. It's the same calf injury he played through in the last game against the Chicago Bears, but now it's worse.
Heading into that game, Samuel wasn't on the 49ers injury report. Then, he reaggravated his calf in Chicago and missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday before returning for Friday's walkthrough. And now he's on the injury report.
If Samuel sits out this game, the 49ers might lose even though Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray might sit out too. Arizona still has the third-ranked defense in the NFL.
If Samuel plays, he still won't be 100 percent, and he could make the injury worse, like he did last week. And the 49ers can't afford to lose him for an extended stretch. He is the offense.
"Deebo is a guy that if it's possible for him to play, he will," head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday. "That's why you got to communicate with him a lot and understand his personality, what he wants. And he also understands what it means if he does play and you can't last through it or he has to go out after two series or something. So I'm glad we got two more days to decide that though.”
If Samuel plays, the 49ers most likely will limit his snaps -- they would be crazy not to.
In addition to Samuel, the 49ers listed starting running back Elijah Mitchel as questionable with a rib injury, and Dee Ford with the same back injury that kept him out most of last season.
"That's never fully gone away," Shanahan said. "That's something he'll deal with most likely forever. So something that's on again, off again. The reason it’s mentioned for the first time, is we think it came up with this concussion. Some of the symptoms presented as a concussion last week with the hit he took, but it acted up some stuff in the back that has been bothering him this week.”