After the second day of OTAs, head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke with the media today about the injury to Michael Crabtree. He said there was a successful surgery on his torn Achilles and that it will not end his chances of playing in the 2013 season.
“The good news is, he woke up from surgery and talked about the success of it,” said Harbaugh. “It’s a set back but it everyday is a healing day and we’ll take a positive approach. It’s time to look at the younger receivers on the team that will emerge because they have to. I’m excited to see them compete for the spot.”
Harbaugh said Crabtree injured himself during a seven-on-seven drill at yesterday’s OTA practice. He confirmed that it was a fully torn Achilles tendon.
Crabtree gone for part of the season, it will be a question as to who can become the top receiver for the 49ers. More than one third of Colin Kaepernick’s passing yards from last year were thrown towards Crabtree.
Veteran Anquan Boldin was picked up by the 49ers via trade earlier this offseason and could be the team’s number one wideout. He has a similar skill set of Crabtree for being a possession receiver but can get open to make big plays.
Mario Manningham is coming off a torn ACL injury he suffered from last December and will not be expected to return until the beginning of the 2013 season. Kyle Williams is also recovering from a torn ACL but should be back for training camp.
The opportunity for 2012 first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins to step up is also a possibility after failing to record a reception last year. Another potential replacement would be fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton, who had a productive college career.
Ricardo Lockette, who was a practice squad member in 2012, spent this offseason training with Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta hoping to build a connection. Lockette said that it is still a competition at wide receiver regardless of if Crabtree is injured or not.
“The job we’re competing for is still important and it just happens to replace a top receiver,” said Lockette. “We’re not taking this lightly, and we’re gonna take it to the next level to hold it down until he gets back.”
Kaepernick said he is confident that someone can emerge from the mix of wide receivers. He knows Crabtree will be ready to go when he recovers from the injury.
“Obviously Crabtree is a great player and has done a lot for this team,” said Kaepernick. “We hope to have someone step up. Crabtree will work and be back. It’s an injury, nobody wants to see [anyone have] no matter who it is.”
From a historical standpoint on torn Achilles tendons, it is estimated Crabtree would be back around November at the earliest.