Deebo Samuel was carted off the Levi’s Stadium turf Sunday afternoon with a knee injury, holding his head in his hands as teammates tried to comfort him.
The 49ers led the Buccaneers 21-0 in rookie quarterback Brock Purdy’s first NFL start but the good feelings came to a halt 5:01 before halftime when Samuel’s left knee was bent awkwardly on a carry and he fumbled.
Samuel gained 3 yards on the carry to the Bucs’ 40-yard line before being taken down by Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Anthony Nelson, with Lavonte David racing in to knock away and recover the football.
The crowd, which had earlier been chanting for Purdy, fell silent as Bucs’ defenders took a knee and left tackle Trent Williams looked beside himself as he walked to the sideline.
Samuel stood up with the 49ers’ medical staff as if he’d try to walk off the field, but he never straightened out his left leg and a cart came to drive him to the 49ers’ locker room. The crowd tried to support Samuel with a chant for him as the cart drove off the field. Samuel is officially listed as questionable to return to Sunday’s game.
Samuel scored the 49ers’ first touchdown on a 13-yard run to cap their opening possession. It was his third rushing touchdown of the season, and he followed key blocks by George Kittle and Mike McGlinchey to race down the right sideline.
Samuel’s dual-threat ability powered the 49ers to last season’s NFC Championship Game, and he signed a three-year extension at the start of training camp.
Before exiting, Samuel had four carries (21 yards) and four receptions (43 yards), which raised his season totals to 41 carries (228 yards) and 54 receptions (612 yards; two touchdowns).
If Samuel is lost for the season or an extended period of time, the 49ers’ next-best wide receiver to complement starter Brandon Aiyuk likely would be Jauan Jennings or Ray-Ray McCloud. Rookie Danny Gray was the fifth to suit up Sunday but he was still seeking his first career reception as Samuel exited.
McCloud took over as No. 2 receiver, and he delivered an 11-yard reception into Bucs’ territory in the final minute before halftime.
Deebo Samuel is being carted off the field after going down with an apparent knee injury.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 11, 2022
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