Deebo Samuel injury: Tracking San Francisco star’s status for NFC Championship Game

If the San Francisco 49ers are going to advance to their second Super Bowl in five seasons, they may have to do it without one of their best offensive weapons.

Standout wide receiver Deebo Samuel suffered a left shoulder injury in Saturday night’s Divisional Round game against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel did not return to the game, and while subsequent tests did not reveal a fracture to his left shoulder — an injury which sidelined him earlier this season — Samuel is still dealing with a lot of pain, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

In addition, Samuel did not practice on Wednesday and his status for Sunday is “uncertain,” according to Shanahan:

The potential absence of Samuel is a huge storyline heading into the NFC Championship Game. He suffered the left shoulder fracture earlier this season, in the opening moments of San Francisco’s Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns. That injury sidelined him for the rest of the game, which the 49ers lost.

He was also out the next two weeks, and San Francisco lost both of those games as well.

Then there are the numbers. While “on/off” reports are not a foolproof metric according to data from Sports Info Solutions the San Francisco offense is a much more efficient machine when Samuel is on the field. In terms of Expected Points Added, the 49ers average an EPA of 0.18 per offensive play when Samuel is on the field, a number which dips to 0.01 when he is off the field.

Their passing game averages an EPA of 0.26 per play when Samuel is on the field, and drops to 0.06 when he is off the field. The same can be said for San Francisco’s running game, which averages an EPA of 0.09 when he is on the field, and -0.05 when he is off the field.

Sure there may be some noise in there, but between the losses and the numbers, the 49ers would love to have him on the field Sunday.

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