SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers will have to wait at least one more game to get receiver Deebo Samuel back on the field but will have Kendrick Bourne available when they visit New Orleans.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday that Samuel has been ruled out for a third straight game since injuring his hamstring on Oct. 25 against New England. Bourne was also activated from his second stint on the COVID-19 list and took part in a walkthrough after missing last week’s game.
The Niners also will have rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk on the field after he missed last week as a “high risk” close contact with Bourne after his positive coronavirus test.
Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams missed last Thursday’s loss to Green Bay on the list but were activated Friday after Bourne had two negative tests. Bourne went back on the list Monday following a second positive test but was activated again Friday and is expected to play even though he missed almost the entire week of practice.
“I’m sure he’s been doing some things on his own, hopefully just running,” Shanahan said. “Anytime you’re not here for 10 days and miss two weeks of practice it is an issue, but we are down some receivers so he’s going to be up regardless. But we got to be smart with him.”
The Niners were forced to play last week with River Cracraft, Trent Taylor and Richie James Jr. as starters and Kevin White as the backup. That quartet went into the game with just nine catches on the season, all by Taylor.
This week, San Francisco should be able to go ahead with Aiyuk and Bourne as the projected starters at outside receiver with James available in the slot. James had nine catches for 184 yards and a TD last week against the Packers as backup quarterback Nick Mullens’ No. 1 option.
“It’s definitely been a fluid situation over the past couple of weeks and the things that we’ve had to deal with,” Mullens said. “But, at the same time, those are guys that I’ve gotten reps with, whether it be camp, practice, throughout the years. So, there’s guys that I’ve worked with. I like that. We feel very comfortable with each other and every practice rep matters and that’s what counts.”
NOTES: CB Richard Sherman practiced this week for the first time since injuring his calf in Week 1 but won’t be ready to play Sunday. … RB Tevin Coleman (knee), CB K’Waun Williams (ankle) and LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (hamstring) are also out this week. … WR River Cracraft (quadriceps) and WR Trent Taylor (back) are questionable.