Michael Crabtree, Frustration, and Expectations

Fooch's Note: Worth noting, Michael Crabtree briefly spoke to media and said he expects to play some on Friday. More to come...

In reading Matt Barrows' write up for the Sacramento Bee concerning Saturday's practice, I came across a totally normal paragraph of not much note: "Michael Crabtree continued his workouts with the team's strength and conditioning coach. There was more change-of-direction work today, another signal that Crabtree is close to returning to practice."

This makes sense, right? I mean, Barrows was doing exactly what he should be doing. We expected Crabtree to keep getting better. His workload will increase as the preseason (rapidly) approaches. Barrows was reporting what we should expect.

And now Crabtree is back to practicing. This is pretty much what we should expect. No surprises here, of course. In fact, it is similar to what has happened during previous off-seasons, if not a bit better this time around due to the fact that he could actually play a pre-season game this year. But still, this struck me as odd. Barrows' paragraph, I mean.

What struck me as odd is how little I have cared about this whole Crabtree injury saga thing, recently. This isn't an apathy thing. I think it's pretty clear that I am just as big a Niners fan around here as everybody else. I just haven't been bothered by this whole ordeal. That's better: I haven't just "not cared" I'm just not bothered. For one thing, this ain't new news. Not by a long shot. Crabtree has always had re-occurring injuries during the offseason. We know the shtick.

But the fact is, for me at least, this whole Crabtree-injury thing just does not frustrate me as much as it used to. Once upon a time, I loved to complain about Crabtree - in the way only a fan can. I wasn't one of those more extreme "just cut / trade / ditch him on the side of a Nevada desert highway" guys. That said, I could see his potential. Oh, the potential. He was brimming with number one type potential, if only he could get a little faster and a little more separation from defenders.

Now, though, I don't need to obsess over that. I can pin all my potential hopes on AJ Jenkins' development; I can pine away after Randy Moss, hoping for the man of yore; and, I can yearn for the crazy Super Bowl catches we saw from Mario Manningham.

Don't get me wrong: Crabtree absolutely makes this team better. Absolutely. He's still probably the best receiver on the team (non Vernon Davis division), and we do need him to produce. It's just this year, it's so much easier to be prudent about his injury. The last few seasons necessitated prudence - almost all injuries necessitate prudence. These men are professional athletes. Their body is their livelihood. We ought to respect that. This year, though, this prudence isn't nearly as frustrating to exercise as it was in the past.

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