The San Francisco 49ers, currently in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, have already clinched the NFC West. However, during the 49ers’ 35-7 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14, they lost wide receiver Deebo Samuel to what appeared to be a serious injury. Samuel was even crying as he exited the field on a cart.

Nonetheless, while Deebo Samuel dodged a serious injury, the initial prognosis for Samuel from head coach Kyle Shanahan was that the 26-year old would be out for “three-ish weeks”. But it seems as if the 49ers wideout is well on his way to shattering that timeline.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Kyle Shanahan said that there is a chance for Samuel to return to practice later this week if everything breaks right for his recovery.

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“Deebo, his ankle and knee are making real good progress, still working his way back. We’ll see how it goes in these next two days with rehab. I think there’s a chance possibly later in the week. We’ll see, though,” Shanahan said, per Jennifer Lee Chan of via Pro Football Talk.

The 49ers may not have missed Deebo Samuel in his two-game absence thus far, thanks in large part to George Kittle’s stellar play. In fact, Kittle put the Washington Commanders’ defense to the sword in their Week 16 tilt. Nevertheless, the 49ers know that, to maximize their chances of winning a Super Bowl, they need all hands on deck. And what greater hands for the 49ers to have than Samuel’s?

Samuel’s production may have tailed off from last year’s Pro Bowl level, but he remains one of the 49ers’ deadliest targets. His recovery will be crucial in determining just how far the 49ers’ season goes.