49ers' Deebo Samuel breaks foot: What to know about Jones fracture


In layman's terms, Deebo Samuel broke his foot Tuesday while working out with teammates in Nashville. In medical terms, he sustained a Jones fracture. 

So, what does that mean? 

First off, it's not great for the 49ers receiver. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Samuel is set to undergo surgery Thursday and should be out for 12 to 16 weeks. The 49ers later confirmed Dr. Robert Anderson performed surgery Thursday on Samuel.

Rehabbing for 12 weeks would last until Sept. 10, while 16 weeks would last all the way to Oct. 8. The 49ers are set to open their regular season on Sept. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Samuel himself believes he will be ready well before that. The second-year pro tweeted that he will be back in 10 weeks, and be better than ever. 

If only it were that simple.

The break occurs between the base and shaft of the fifth metatarsal on your foot. Jones fractures often times are seen as one of the worst possible injuries for a football player to get. 

In August 2018, research in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports stated "50 percent of all players with a previous Jones fracture demonstrated incomplete healing. Moreover, position-specific performance scores over the first 2 years of a player’s career were lower across all positions for those with fractures compared with controls." This came from reviewing every player who attended the NFL Scouting Combine between 2009 and 2015. 

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The 49ers know all about the dangers of Jones fractures, too. Receiver Trent Taylor sustained the injury in training camp last year. He suffered multiple setbacks, underwent five surgeries and missed the entire 2019 season. 

Sammy Watkins, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, had a Jones fracture in May 2016. He was coming off a season where he had 1,047 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. It took Watkins two years to get fully back to health, and he has averaged only 595 receiving yards in the three seasons since the injury. 

Kevin Durant, who is built much different than Samuel and plays a different sport, was limited to only 27 games in the 2014-15 season. The former Warriors star had a Jones fracture before the season and then needed three surgeries in a six-month span.

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There's no underselling just how important Samuel is to the 49ers' offense. In his rookie year, he proved to be the perfect versatile weapon for coach Kyle Shanahan. Between the regular season and the playoffs, Samuel totaled 1,109 yards. He scored three receiving touchdowns and three as a ball-carrier.

While Samuel is optimistic, this obviously is a big blow to the 49ers. All they can do now is hope this isn't another Taylor situation, and that Samuel can return to the field at full strength.

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