Deebo Samuel surprise participant at Wednesday's 49ers practice


SANTA CLARA — 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel was a surprise participant in Wednesday’s practice, his team’s first of the week heading into Sunday’s NFC Championship.

A couple hours before the practice session, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Deebo was expected to miss the day’s action with an ankle injury.

Deebo was spotted running routes and catching passes during the media-viewing portion of practice, which included individual and group drills. Samuel didn’t turn it up to full speed while reporters were present.

Before heading out to the practice field, Deebo told reporters he had no doubts he would be available for Sunday.

“Just kinda sore,” Samuel said. “Just being pretty cautious.”

Without giving any details, Shanahan implied that the ankle issue is a lingering one. Deebo had to exit the Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his left knee and ankle were injured in a grisly tackle. Samuel returned in the Week 18 regular-season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Deebo lined up out wide and in the backfield while playing in 95 percent of the team’s offensive snaps Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

“It's been there for a little bit and I think it'll be alright,” Shanahan said.

Meanwhile, running backs Christian McCaffrey (ankle) and Elijah Mitchell (groin) didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, but Shanahan thinks all of his offensive weapons will be available.

"I expect 'em to (play), but there’s no guarantees,” Shanahan said.

Defensive end Charles Omenihu (oblique) was a limited participant Wednesday despite being arrested on suspicion of domestic battery Monday. Cornerback Ambry Thomas (ankle) was a limited participant, while tackle Trent Williams got a veteran rest day.

Shanahan said injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo underwent an X-ray Tuesday on his injured foot/ankle. The 49ers would likely have to make the Super Bowl in order for Jimmy G to be healthy enough to return as Brock Purdy’s backup.

“I don't expect to have him this week,” Shanahan said.

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