The 49ers still don’t know if one of their key offensive pieces will be ready to go for Sunday’s NFC championship game.

Deebo Samuel suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s divisional round win over the Packers, and San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan did not have a definitive answer when asked Wednesday about his receiver’s status for Sunday’s game.

Shanahan did say Samuel was improving, but did not elaborate further if the 2021 All-Pro would play this weekend against the Lions.

While X-rays came back negative, Samuel did not practice Wednesday as the team gears up for its second straight NFC title game.

“His shoulder hurts,” Shanahan told reporters. “That’s all, yeah, it just hurts.”

Samuel’s presence in the lineup has been not just important for the offense, but for the team as a whole.

The win over the Packers marked the first time this season that the 49ers won a game with Samuel limited to 10 snaps or fewer, NFL.com reported.

The 49ers went 12-1 this season when Samuel logged at least 10 snaps, per NFL.com.

Glaringly, the 49ers only scored 17 points in both Weeks 7 and 8 when Samuel was out of the lineup.

In those two games, Purdy combined for two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Without Samuel for a majority of the divisional playoff game, the San Francisco signal-caller was largely held in check at 252 yards and one touchdown.

“Deebo is a fantastic football player,” 49ers tight end George Kittle said after Saturday’s game. “He’s amazing, especially the things that we ask him to do. When Deebo is in there and you match him with Christian [McCaffrey] and switch them around and stuff like that, it makes our offense what I think is different than any other offense in the NFL. So, am I concerned about him not playing next week? Yeah. We’re a different team without Deebo.”

On the flip side, though, the Lions’ defense hasn’t been exactly sterling in its two playoff wins, allowing 416.5 yards per game in the small sample.

49ers legend Jerry Rice, while talking on a radio hit with 95.7 The Game on Wednesday, said he believes Samuel will ultimately play against Detroit.

“I expect Deebo Samuel to be on that football field,” former 49ers wideout Jerry Rice said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game. “That’s the bottom line. I think with Deebo, being a competitor that he is, he’s gon’ be ready to play.”

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