It seems like a week doesn't go by without someone asking in the comments or on Twitter how Michael Crabtree is progressing in his Achilles injury rehab. As it currently stands all reports indicate he remains on track for a six-month recovery. That would potentially put him back on the field in late November. I have not seen specifics as far as if that is when he would return to practice, or if that is when he could actually get back into a game.
Greg Roman got a question about Crabtree's status last week. He did not provide a significant update, but here is the exchange:
What's the timetable with WR Michael Crabtree? We see him over there and he looks pretty good for a guy who had an Achilles tear in May. Are you hopeful that you're going to get him back towards the end of the regular season?
"Well, he's working hard. I don't think there's any specific day or date. I think [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Fergie and the medical staff are the ones to really talk to on that. But, if we can get him back this year, that'd be gravy. And I think the way he's working now it's quite possible. But, again, I think you'll probably want to talk to the medical staff."
The 49ers receiver tore his Achilles on May 21 in organized team activities. Not too long after, the timeline for his recovery started to leak out, and it was set early on as a six-month process. Demaryius Thomas said it took seven months for him to feel 100 percent, and there are reports it can take as long as a year to really get the full strength back. As with any injury, it depends entirely on the individual recovery. The initial immobilization of the leg leads to loss of strength, and it is essential to get that back.
Players can start to come off the PUP list after Week 6, and due to some changes in the rules, a player could conceivably not be activated until as late as Week 15. That gives the 49ers a huge window with which to work. They have plenty of question marks at wide receiver, but they also need to be safe with how they get Crabtree back into action. The new rules mean they can work him back in all the way into late December.
While there might be some wanting him to get his reps quickly to be warmed up for the playoffs, remember that he put together a strong start right off the bat after ending his rookie holdout. In his debut, against the Houston Texans no less, he caught five passes for 56 yards. He followed that up with six receptions for 81 yards against the Indianapolis Colts. His "chemistry" with Colin Kaepernick upon his return is not high on my list of concerns at the moment.