The San Francisco 49ers already ruled Deebo Samuel out for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on the final injury report for Week 1, but the team’s leading wideout from last season will miss more than Sunday’s action. San Francisco announced Samuel was placed on injured reserve Saturday, making him eligible to return as soon as Week 4. 

Samuel broke his left foot in June and has not practiced since. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was reluctant to put him on injured reserve at first, which delays the start of his season by three games. 

“We believed he had a good chance to play this week,” Shanahan said Friday. “It didn’t go the way we hoped. We felt there was a chance, so to make a decision that would be three weeks when we thought he did have a chance. We didn’t think that would be very smart. Also, it’s something with the rules that because it happened before training camp started, which is considered non-football injury, there was some reason we couldn’t do that, either.”

Brandon Aiyuk is also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but he was a limited participant in Thursday and Friday’s practice. Even though Aiyuk missed some time, Shanahan has displayed confidence the rookie first-round pick can be productive if he makes his debut. 

“One good thing is we usually don’t let guys come back and put them in practice until they’ve had a few healthy days before that. So, it means he’s going in the right direction,” Shanahan said. “It means he probably right now, I feel he could get through it. We’ve just got to decide on what that risk is. That’ll be something that you constantly talk to the trainers about, but it’s also, at this point, something that we’ve got to keep really talking to Brandon about. We’ll make sure that we do what’s best for him.”

The 49ers will have Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor to pick up the slack, with Dante Pettis thrown into the mix along with Aiyuk. San Francisco didn’t promote a wide receiver from the practice squad Saturday with one of their two additional roster spots, but placing Samuel on injured reserve makes an extra roster spot available. San Francisco has former first-round pick Kevin White, River Cracraft, and Jauan Jennings on its practice squad. 

San Francisco appears set to play with four active receivers Sunday, barring a last-minute roster addition in the hours ahead. 

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