Deebo Samuel Out, Brandon Aiyuk and Ben Garland Questionable for 49ers vs. Cardinals
The 49ers won’t have at least one of their starting wide receivers for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Deebo Samuel is out for Sunday’s game with a foot injury, while wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is questionable with a hamstring injury. In addition, center Ben Garland is questionable with an ankle injury, and running back Tevin Coleman could miss the game if the air quality in Santa Clara doesn’t improve.
“With Garland and Aiyuk, it might take us all the way to game time to decide if they can go or not,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday. “They are that close. They also have been prepared in camp and done enough stuff to be ready, but we’ll see.”
The 49ers traded up in Round 1 for Aiyuk -- he’s a rookie. And he missed OTAs, minicamp, preseason and one third of training camp, so he’s not particularly prepared. But he played extremely well when he was healthy in camp, and Shanahan won’t rule out starting Aiyuk against the Cardinals.
“We usually don’t let guys come back and put them in practice until they’ve had a few healthy days before that,” Shanahan said. “It means he’s going in the right direction. Right now, I feel he could get through it, we just have to decide on what that risk is. We’ll make sure we do what’s best for him.”
It seems likely Aiyuk and Garland will play against the Cardinals, but it’s unclear how much they’ll play.
And if the air quality index rises above 150 in Santa Clara on Sunday, Tevin Coleman may choose not to play, because he carries the sickle cell trait.
“It will be a personal decision for Tevin,” Shanahan said. “It’s not just an automatic, ‘No.’ That’s stuff you have to discuss with a doctor and be comfortable with. Tevin will do what’s right for him, what’s safe. I know he’s going to want to play extremely hard and be out there. I know it kills him not to be. But I also know Tevin will make the right decision and our doctors will help him with that.”
If Coleman sits out Week 1, he almost certainly will play Week 2 against the Giants in New Jersey.
Plus Samuel might return Week 2, even though he hasn’t participated in football activities since he suffered a Jones fracture in his foot on June 18.
“We believed he had a good chance to play this week,” Shanahan said. “It didn’t go the way we hoped, but he still will be day to day going into next week. We felt there was a chance. We’ll see how next week goes.”