San Francisco 49ers await additional test results after Deebo Samuel, Fred Warner exit with inju...

ByNick Wagoner ESPN logo
Monday, November 29, 2021

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers emerged from Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings with an important win in the NFC playoff chase, but they also left Levi's Stadium with crucial injury questions about two of their most integral players.

Linebacker Fred Warner and receiver Deebo Samuel departed the team's 34-26 victory in the third quarter with left hamstring and groin injuries, respectively. Neither player returned to the game and both are slated for MRIs on Monday morning to determine the severity of their ailments.

"We're not sure [how serious the injuries are]," Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We'll see on the MRIs with Deebo and Fred. But we're not sure yet."

While Warner was not available to speak to media after the game, Samuel was and offered some optimism that his injury won't be long term.

"My groin got kind of tight once I went to make a move so I was just like, 'Let's not make that worse' so that's why I just went down," Samuel said. "[There's] not too much concern. I've got an MRI and stuff in the morning, and we're just going to see how it goes."

Samuel suffered the injury with 1:30 left in the third quarter when he took a handoff off the left side for a loss of 6 yards. He almost immediately pulled up on the play, aware that something was amiss.

Samuel spent the rest of the game with a towel on his head offering support for his teammates, at one point even going so far as to get some water for running back Elijah Mitchell.

His injury brought an early end to a record-setting day as Samuel rushed six times for 66 yards and two touchdowns and had a reception for 12 yards. He became the first primary receiver in the Super Bowl era to record five rushing touchdowns in a season. He also joined Roger Craig (1985) and Marshall Faulk (1999) as the only players in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards, five rushing and five receiving touchdowns in the same season.

According to Shanahan, the hope with Samuel is that it's a low-grade strain.

"You can tell when he feels something, he stops right away," Shanahan said. "That's why I knew right away when he first stepped that something was there. But by the time he got to the sidelines, you feel like he saved a real bad injury. We'll have to find out tomorrow."

Warner's injury came midway through the third quarter after the 49ers had already lost linebacker Dre Greenlaw to a groin injury. Warner, a defensive captain and the unit's signal-caller, went to the sideline, where he put a sleeve over his left hamstring.

From there, Warner was seen doing some light jogging, apparently attempting to loosen it up and return to the game. However, he was unable to get back in the mix, with Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles replacing him and Azeez Al-Shaair taking over as the vocal leader of the defense.

Al-Shaair led the Niners with eight tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a pass defended.

"Azeez did a really good job, obviously how he played, the interception and playing the run well," end Nick Bosa said. "You don't usually see Fred out of the game so it's definitely a shock but hopefully it's not too bad and we can get him back."

San Francisco running back Trey Sermon (ankle), defensive tackle Kentavius Street (wrist) and Greenlaw also left with injuries and did not return. They will have further testing Monday also, with Shanahan indicating that Sermon's injury might be of the most concern.

The Niners play next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.