The Niners also will be without defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who will miss a fourth straight game with injuries to his foot and ankle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk (finger) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (calf).
Receiver Jauan Jennings (hamstring) and cornerback Jason Verrett are questionable. Verrett is looking to play in his first game since injuring his knee in the 2021 opener.
Samuel’s absence is a major loss considering the impact he has had on the 49ers offense — especially against the Rams.
In his last five games against Los Angeles dating to the 2020 season, Samuel has caught 36 passes for 578 yards and four touchdowns, rushed 22 times for 109 yards and two scores and even threw a 24-yard TD pass to Jennings.
He was responsible for more than 37% of the yards the Niners gained on offense in those games and six of the team’s 11 offensive touchdowns.
Samuel’s most productive game of this season also came against the Rams. He took a short pass from Jimmy Garoppolo and turned it into a 57-yard touchdown thanks to a string of broken tackles. He had six catches for 115 yards and the score that game.
For the season, Samuel has 32 catches for 387 yards and two TDs, as well as 138 yards rushing and another score.
The Niners do have an option that wasn’t available that first game after acquiring versatile running back Christian McCaffrey in a trade last week from Carolina.
McCaffrey had 62 yards on 10 touches last weekend, two days after joining the team. But he is expected to play a bigger role Sunday when he can handle some of the load as a runner and receiver.
“He worked real hard to get his stuff last week,” Shanahan said. “We gave the whole team the game plan on Wednesday. It’s harder for a guy when he hasn’t heard the stuff other weeks, but he did great in his three practices and he’s good to go.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL