SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers officially welcomed wide receiver Deebo Samuel back to the roster on Saturday, though his return is countered by a pair of players heading to injured reserve.
The Niners announced Saturday that Samuel has been activated from the injured reserve list after recovering from a Jones fracture in his left foot. To make room for Samuel on the 53-man roster, the 49ers placed defensive end Dee Ford (back) and tight end Jordan Reed (sprained knee) on short-term injured reserve. The team also promoted running back JaMycal Hasty from the practice squad to fill the other open spot on the roster.
Samuel returned to practice this week after spending the first three games on injured reserve. Coach Kyle Shanahan said early in the week that he wanted to see Samuel get through the team's three practices without issue before activating him to play against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Satisfied by Samuel's work in practice, Shanahan said Friday that Samuel would be available on Sunday night. Still, Samuel won't have his usual workload.
"It is his first time back; we have got to be smart with that," Shanahan said Friday. "I know he'll be out there, but it won't be his normal role, that's for sure."
Reed and Ford become just the latest names in an ever-growing list of 49ers to land on injured reserve. Although Samuel is back, Reed and Ford join cornerback Richard Sherman (calf), running back Tevin Coleman (knee) and receiver Richie James Jr. (hamstring) on short-term IR. Defensive end Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Solomon Thomas and receiver Jalen Hurd are on long-term IR with torn ACLs.
Although players on short-term IR can return after three weeks, Shanahan said Monday that Reed was likely to miss six to eight weeks. Of more concern is Ford, who has been dealing with back spasms since the days after the season opener against Arizona.
The 49ers had held out hope that rest would get Ford back to full strength, but it hasn't happened. Shanahan was asked Friday whether Ford's back issues had led to a conversation about retirement.
"It's not being discussed, and I don't want to say anything strong that people blow up, but it's similar to what I said a couple of weeks ago," Shanahan said. "When you're dealing with the back and things like that, everything's a concern. Also, that stuff does loosen up just randomly, too. That's why we're playing it slow. I just saw him here a little bit in the hallway on my way here. I think he's doing better than he was a couple of weeks ago, that's for sure. But, it's something we've just got to be smart with and you can't risk things when you're dealing with that part of the body. So, I wouldn't get to saying all that stuff, but that's why we're being cautious with it."
In addition to Samuel and Hasty, the 49ers also activated cornerback Jamar Taylor and linebacker Joe Walker from the practice squad for Sunday's game against the Eagles. Taylor offers insurance with K'Waun Williams questionable because of a hip injury, and Walker provides depth with linebacker Dre Greenlaw out because of a bruised quadriceps.