Mario Manningham made an appearance on Jim Rome's radio show, and he had a chance to discuss a variety of topics. The most pertinent was related to his knee injury. His comeback is now 17 weeks old, and the rehab process continues on. As would be expected, Manningham said things are going well with it. Rome asked him if he planned on being back in time for training camp and Manningham said he would, "around that time". He emphasized that he wanted to be back at 100% and didn't want to rush anything.
He also had a chance to discuss the hard parts of rehab, and he pointed to the mental side of things as the bigger issue than the physical side. This is not a surprising comment, and some of you might remember socalisteph's write-up on overcoming the mental hurdles.
Jim Harbaugh mentioned back in February that he did not expect Manningham to be ready in time for the start of training camp. Given Manningham's comments, I think he is pretty realistic about getting back after the start of training camp. While a healthy Manningham can be a big part of this offense, an injured Manningham opens the door for opportunities for the other young receivers. A.J. Jenkins and Quinton Patton will receive a lot of the focus, but let's not forget Kyle Williams. He is coming back from his own ACL injury, but if he can be ready for the start of training camp (as is generally expected), there is a great opportunity to claim playing time behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
Manningham restructured his contract back in March, in a bid to stick with the team. Rome asked him about re-doing the deal, and he discussed how he liked the coaches and players on the 49ers, and knew the team was getting close to the top. Of course, if he had instead been released, I imagine it would have been difficult to get much more coming off a late season knee injury. That being said, his restructured deal would seem to indicate the team thinks he can be back in time to contribute in 2013. The team is still in a position to release him if his knee doesn't come around, so we'll see what the end of training camp brings.