The 49ers are making a move they were always going make, activating Deebo Samuel from the reserve/non-football injury list, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. Unless Samuel had complications with his recovery from his Jones fracture, there was no chance he would not be a member of the active roster.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) September 5, 2020
Like with the physically unable to perform list, players on the NFI list at the start of the regular season must sit for at least the first six weeks of the season before they can open their three-week return window in which they can begin practice and either be promoted to the active roster or placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the year.
This was never going to happen with Samuel, whose fracture is the same injury Trent Taylor suffered last offseason and had horrendous complications with. Jones fractures are most common in young wide receivers, and roughly 90 to 95 percent of athletes who suffer them, according to Dr. Brian Feeley, who spoke to KNBR this offseason, recover without complications.
The most common complication is infection, which, due to the poor blood flow in that area of the foot, makes it difficult to eradicate. Samuel has not appeared to have those complications and is right in line with the initial timeline for his return, as we broke down here:
“If all goes according to plan, Samuel will be ready at the start of the season. The earliest timeline of six weeks (July 30) would allow him to participate in training camp, which starts July 28, and the latest, of 12 weeks, would have him back September 10, three days before the 49ers’ season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. The 10-week timeline Samuel suggested on Twitter would put him at August 27 for returning to play, towards the end of training camp.”
Samuel may not be ready for Week 1 or at least be limited, though that could well be a result of the limited conditioning he’s been able to do, having been out of practice for the entirety of training camp. What’s clear, as head coach Kyle Shanahan ha stated of the last week is he’s near returning, and will be on the active roster, as expected, for the start of the season.