The collective NFL world held its breath when San Francisco 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel went down with an injury in Sunday’s blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Deebo was forced off after a running play saw his knee buckle underneath him. The lead former 49ers star Jerry Rice to plead not to use Samuel as a running back anymore. But such is his value to the run game, Kyle Shanahan keeps doing it to great effect.

49ers said WR Deebo Samuel suffered a sprained MCL and ankle, but is expected to return during the regular season.

Now, thankfully, there is some good news for 49ers fans. Per several reports, Samuel suffered a sprained MCL and ankle. Luckily, it wasn’t the dreaded ACL like many had feared.

What is a sprained MCL?

A sprained MCL happens when a player’s knee is pushed inward due to pressure put on it from the outside (such as a player falling over it and putting full body weight on it).

Here’s the play where Deebo Samuel gets injured:* We can debate whether Kyle Shanahan should use Samuel as a running back so much, but this isn’t a “run up the middle.”* Not blaming anyone for the injury — but I wonder why Samuel doesn’t follow Kittle to the outside..

When a player suffers an ACL injury, sometimes the MCL gets sprained as well. There are also three different types of strains. A grade one involves minor tearing or stretching of the MCL, a grade two is usually a 50 percent tear and of course a grade three is the complete tearing of the MCL fibers.

How long will Deebo Samuel be out?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers

Given that every player is different when it comes to injury recovery, we do not know exactly how long Samuel will take to recover from the sprain. According to various reports, the receiver has a good chance of returning in the regular season, which is great news.


With four regular-season games remaining, we can easily speculate that the receiver will be back within four weeks. With the 49ers sure to be playing in the postseason, Shanahan may just be playing the cautious approach with his star man.

The last thing 49ers fans want is to rush him back only for him to break down again. Considering how crucial he is to the team’s offense, losing him for any amount of time is a blow.

Thankfully, there is good news on both fronts. There’s no ACL tear and there’s a good chance of returning before the playoffs.

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