SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel has been cleared to play in the the NFC championship game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday after leaving last week's game with a shoulder injury.
Samuel was a full participant in practice Friday and had no injury designation as San Francisco (13-5) heads into the the conference title game in good health.
“It’s huge,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “A little scary at the beginning of the week. The fact that he was able to go full go today and no restrictions on him is definitely a good thing for us.”
Detroit (14-5) will be without left guard Jonah Jackson, who injured his knee in last week's win over Tampa Bay but will have second-team All-Pro center Frank Ragnow available for the game.
Ragnow has been slowed by injuries to his ankle, toe, knee and back and didn't practice until Friday but had no injury designation for the game.
“He’s good," coach Dan Campbell said. "Frank’s doing well. And Frank will be ready to go. I mean you’re not going to hold him out of this one, and he gets better every day. So, he’ll be ready.”
The Lions also are expected to get edge rusher James Houston back for the first time since he hurt his ankle in Week 2. He was activated from injured reserve last week and is ready to play Sunday.
Samuel's status was the biggest question after he injured his left shoulder on San Francisco's opening drive last week against Green Bay.
He was initially checked for a concussion but was cleared to return. He tried to play through the shoulder injury, but was in too much pain and couldn't continue.
“At the time, it was feeling really bad,” Samuel said. “I was kind of scared a little bit. I thought I had fractured it again. I was all over the place. In a big game like that, I had millions of emotions on the sideline to try to keep it together for my team.”
Tests earlier in the week showed no break in the bone and Samuel was able to get back on the field for practice on a limited basis Thursday.
Shanahan said he had contingencies in the game plan in case Samuel couldn't play, but was confident once the tests came back Monday and the pain started to subside.
Samuel is a key part of one of the league's top offenses with his ability as receiver as well as a runner making the Niners difficult to defend.
He had a hairline fracture in his shoulder early in a game in Week 6 at Cleveland and missed the next two games. The Niners lost all three of those games.
Samuel gained 1,117 yards from scrimmage with 12 TDs in the regular season. He had two catches for 24 yards on the opening drive last week before getting hurt.
“It’s huge for us,” quarterback Brock Purdy said of having Samuel healthy for Sunday. “Deebo’s a game-changer. He’s one of the best in the NFL at what he does. ... Obviously seeing him run around at practice and look good for us, it’s like, ‘All right. It’s on.’”
The Lions also will be without receiver Kalif Raymond (knee). Cornerback Chase Lucas (illness) and third-string quarterback Hendon Hooker (tooth) are listed as questionable.
San Francisco linebacker Oren Burks is questionable after hurting his shoulder in practice Thursday and defensive lineman Kalia Davis is questionable with an ankle injury.
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