The San Francisco 49ers may not have one of their premier playmakers on the field Sunday when they take on the Miami Dolphins.
Star wide receiver Deebo Samuel has practiced sparingly this week, and during a radio interview Friday morning, head coach Kyle Shanahan stated that Samuel has "got to do something [Friday] for it to be a chance to be a game-time decision," per a transcription by 49ersWebZone.
Samuel, who had been on the injury report over the past several weeks with a hamstring injury, is on there this week with a quadriceps injury. He got in a limited practice session Wednesday but was sidelined Thursday. Shanahan wants to see him get in at least another limited session Friday to give him a chance of playing against Miami.
"We're not just giving him [time] off to give him [time] off," Shanahan said. "He's trying to get healthy. He's working as hard as he can. His thigh has been bothering him. It hasn't loosened up the way we want it to, but hopefully, it will be better [Friday], and he'll be good to go for Sunday."
The Niners will already be without running back Elijah Mitchell for this game, and for at least the next several weeks as well. Plus, Christian McCaffrey has been dealing with a knee injury that saw the team limit his reps in the past couple games and hold him out of Wednesday's practice. McCaffrey is expected to play, and if Samuel can't go, would presumably have even more responsibility within the offense, while Brandon Aiyuk would take on additional targets as the clear-cut top perimeter option in the passing game.
With the Dolphins sporting one of the NFL's most efficient and explosive offenses, San Francisco needs all of its weapons available so it can keep pace. A potential Samuel absence would change the entire complexion of the matchup.