49ers: Deebo Samuel’s Week 1 status very much in doubt

San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Deebo Samuel was held out of practice again on Thursday.

The San Francisco 49ers received an important injury update following Thursday’s practice and while it wasn’t all bad news, the update regarding wide receiver Deebo Samuel certainly wasn’t something to be celebrated.

Once again, the second-year wideout was held out of practice as he continues to rehab his foot injury. Samuel broke his foot back in June putting his availability for the start of the season very much in doubt.

To his credit, Samuel has insisted that he intends to play Week 1 and that notion hasn’t changed over the past couple of months. That promise seemed to be supported when the 49ers opted to activate him off the non-football injury list this past weekend.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that he will be playing in the team’s season-opener this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

If Samuel was kept on the NFI list to start the year, he would have been forced to miss at least three weeks of action. The 49ers clearly expect him to be back before then, but perhaps not in Week 1.

We’ll find out more about Samuel’s status on Friday, but as of now, his chances for Week 1 aren’t looking good.

The 49ers did receive some good news about players not named Deebo Samuel.

That said, the 49ers did receive some good news as both rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and center Ben Garland returned to practice on Friday after missing time with injuries.

If Samuel is out, expect a player like Aiyuk to be featured heavily in his NFL debut, provided he’s healthy. The Arizona State product made quite the first impression this summer before going down with a hamstring injury.

Given the vast number of injuries the 49ers have suffered at the wide receiver position, having Aiyuk healthy for Week 1 would be a huge boost to the offense.

The same goes for Garland who’s been out nursing an ankle injury. With Weston Richburg still sidelined, the 49ers are relying on Garland to start at center until his teammate could return.

If Garland can’t go, the 49ers could opt to slide Daniel Brunskill over to center while inserting Tom Compton at right guard. Or they could promote Hroniss Grasu from the practice squad and have him start at center while keeping Brunskill at his projected position.

It remains to be seen if Samuel could pull off the improbable and play this Sunday. But as for Aiyuk and Garland, things are looking up.