SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers placed starting receiver Deebo Samuel on the non-football injury list after foot surgery and said he might miss the start of the season.
Samuel suffered a fracture in his left foot last month during informal workouts with teammates in Tennessee and the timeline for his return remains unknown.
“I’m not going to put an exact timeline on it but it’s fair to say he may well miss some games early in the year,” general manager John Lynch told the team’s flagship radio station KNBR on Tuesday. “But we’re going to have him back at some point.
“I know his rehab is going very well and he’s working very diligently and still intent on having a really big year for us.”
Samuel is being counted on to be a key part of the offense for the defending NFC champion 49ers. San Francisco lost receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency and was hoping Samuel could help fill that role in his second season in the NFL following a promising debut season after being picked in the second round out of South Carolina.
Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three TDs last season and also made big contributions in the running game. He had 14 carries for 159 yards and three scores. Samuel had 575 yards receiving over the final eight weeks of the regular season, ranking second to Tennessee’s A.J. Brown among rookies in that span.
Samuel then made a big impact in the postseason with 10 catches for 127 yards and six runs for 102 yards in three games. He had five catches for 39 yards and three carries for 53 yards in San Francisco’s 31-20 loss to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.
The 49ers will have several players unable to participate at the start of training camp after veterans came in Tuesday for their initial COVID-19 tests.
Defensive lineman Ronald Blair, center Weston Richburg, defensive lineman Jullian Taylor, defensive lineman Kentavius Street and receiver Shawn Poindexter were all placed on the physically unable to perform list as they recover from knee injuries last season.
Defensive back D.J. Reed was placed on the non-football injury list after suffering a torn pectoral during the offseason.
San Francisco also cut linebacker Joey Alfieri, cornerback Jermaine Kelly, safety Derrick Kindred, offensive lineman Ray Smith and quarterback Broc Rutter. Receiver Chris Finke was waived with a non-football injury and defensive lineman Willie Henry Jr. was waived with a non-football illness.
Receiver Richie James Jr. was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.
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