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Jim Harbaugh discusses Michael Crabtree injury

Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Wednesday and had plenty of opportunities to discuss Michael Crabtree.

Jason O. Watson

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Wednesday after practice, and of course he was asked plenty of questions about Michael Crabtree and the 49ers wide receiver position. He was asked to compare the injury to Kendall Hunter's Achilles tear. He said it was the same injury, but Hunter waited on surgery because there was more time to come back. Hunter suffered his injury in late November so there was no need to rush since he could not come back the rest of the season.

Coach Harbaugh would not comment on potential replacements, other than to say the team is excited about the options on the roster and "[r]eally feel that somebody's going to emerge there because they have to." I have to think the team is looking at external options for at least due diligence purposes. If they were to add a receiver, I imagine it would be sooner rather than later in order to get him up to speed.

And yet, I just don't see the team adding anybody of significance. I mentioned some external options yesterday, and the list is far from inspiring. I think the upside of the 49ers young guys is worth considering over the safe nature of some of those veterans.

Opening statement:

"[WR] Michael Crabtree underwent surgery to repair his Achilles tendon, that he tore yesterday. Surgery was successful, and we do not anticipate that it'll be season ending for Michael."

Was it partial, or was it full?

"It was completely torn, and completely repaired."

How did he do it?

"He was coming in motion and just was planted and started a route. And felt like somebody kicked him in the Achilles, which sometimes people say it feels like. But, good news is he woke up from the surgery and first thing he asked [the] doc how it went. So, he talked about the success of the surgery and that didn't anticipate that he'd be out for the year. And his comment to that was he's got no choice but to be back. So, every day now is a healing day. And that starts today."

Was this the same foot that he had surgery on before, for the broken foot?


Would the best case scenario then be for him to come back in November? Is that fair?

"Where we're at now, day one, successful surgery. He'll start his healing. We do not anticipate that it will be season ending."

Did you visit him? Were you there with him?


Was it at Stanford?


How disappointed was he that you can tell so far?

"Well, it's a setback. But, Michael's young. He's strong. With everything he'll be positive approach to healing and we'll anticipate great things."

Will you look outside the team?

"And then another thing right now is that you look at the young receivers on our team that will emerge, because they have to emerge. So, excited to watch them compete for that spot."

Is this similar to what RB Kendall Hunter went through, the exact same thing?

"Same injury, yes."

Same thing. So, is he kind of on a similar timetable of what Kendall went through?

"There was a different process with Kendall because there was more time. They took more time after the injury to do the surgery. And it's a bit of a different approach the way I understand it talking to the doctors."

Is it his right, or his left?

"His right."

Will you look at other receivers?

"Again, as we always say, we don't comment on anybody but the players that we have here on this team."

WR Randy Moss was a part of this team last year. Is that a consideration to bring Randy back?

"Again, the same response, we're excited for the young receivers that we have. Really feel that somebody's going to emerge there because they have to. And competition will create that. And we'll look forward to watching that."

Are you encouraged that WR Ricardo Lockette and WR A.J. Jenkins spent so much time with QB Colin Kaepernick this offseason?

"Yeah, the guys they are, the players that they are, and the opportunity that they have, I think all those things will facilitate their emergence."

Where is WR Anquan Boldin? Is he not participating in these OTAs?

"He had some prior commitments."

For this week, or?

"For this week."

Anybody stand out the last couple days?

"Oh yeah, there are a lot of guys standing out. Right now, we've got a long way to go. A long road to hoe. We understand that. And our guys are working on getting better every single day. Coming out here with a plan. What they need to get done before the day is over and their head can hit the pillow and feel good about what they accomplished. So, I like the way our team is working. I like the way they're going about their business. It's serious. And they're focused on improving."

I've got to ask you about driving the pace car for the Indy 500. You've got to be excited to do that.

"I'm really excited. I was really excited just to be considered, when they told me that they were considering me. So, to actually be doing it I've already had a couple dreams about it. And I know I'm going to be excited and nervous and anticipating getting there and getting some practice in for it. But, as the number one fan of The Rockford Files, to follow in the footsteps of James Garner who did it three times, and also Morgan Freeman and Colin Powell and Chuck Yeager, and so many others. It's just a real honor and a privilege. And I'm going to do my best to do a great job at it."

Are they going to put a mile per hour limit on you?

"I'm awaiting my coaching and instructions, and ready for practice."

Will you keep the corvette?

"The corvette, that car goes to the winner of the race. The winner of the race is always the one who gets the pace car of the Indy 500."

Going back to Crabtree real quick, was he doing like 11-on-11s or was he just doing warm ups and individual drills?

"He was doing a 7-on-7 drill."

With the other players that weren't here today, are you aware of why they were not here?

"Yes. Yes."

Nobody else got hurt yesterday?


Just to follow up, those guys are in the [inaudible] prior commitment category?

"Not all of them, no. [S] Darcel [McBath] was sick. And not going to go through every single guy and have you come out on these days and take attendance and then go through what everybody's doing. But, we know where everybody's at and know what their prior commitments were, or weren't."

In terms of the competition between the young wide receivers, how much will blocking play a role in who emerges since that was an area Crabtree excelled at?

"An important role. It's half their job. If they don't have the ball, then they're blocking. So, it's always a very vital, important role."

Was his surgery today, or yesterday?

"This morning."

How did Kaepernick look at practice today?

"Kap, sharp again today. He's been really strong. Running the offense. Throwing the ball extremely well. He's in great physical shape. With a total command of the offense."

Is QB Colt McCoy adjusting quickly?

"Had a good day today. Colt was very sharp as well. Probably his best day. And him, like everybody on the team right now, they're building the knowledge for the system and getting better and better at it each day. That's job number one. The second thing is you're building that callus for playing football. And so far, so good. It's going well."


Who did the surgery on Crabtree?

"Dr. Tim McAdams. He's done a phenomenal job with all of our guys. Everybody who has surgery last year, everybody's progressing really well and ahead of schedule. So, we anticipate the same things from Michael, and I think it'll be just a positive approach that he'll take. And the doctors have already been extremely positive about the success of the surgery. So, we'll trust the doctors and Michael's will to compete and return. And we think that'll have a good result and great things will happen for us and Michael."

Once it's obviously determined he could come back this year, that's why it was like let's do it immediately (surgery), right [inaudible]?

"Every day's a healing day. So, the doctors wanted to get it done right away."

You have referred to guys as quick healers, athletes are a special breed that they can do that. Has he shown you through some of the other injuries he's had that that's his nature?

"With all these guys, that's the way all these guys are. They're the most in shape, the most athletic people on this planet. The best athletes play football and are in the best shape of their lives. I was listening to Dr. Sanjay Gupta this morning when I was driving into work. And he was talking about the positive effects of the mind on healing the body. So, thought that was a good time to hear that. And that's the approach that we'll take now."

When are WR Kyle Williams and RB Kendall Hunter going to be able to be full participants? Do you know their timetable?

"No, I'm not going to comment on the timetable. But, they're progressing really well."

DT Justin Smith, too?

"Yeah, Justin Smith doing real well, as well. Benching about 350 pounds on the bench press. I'd say he's progressing well."

Do you have Sanjay dialed up for the occasion? Or did you just happen to have it on the radio?

"Just happened to have it on. I was listening to KNBR this morning and Sanjay Gupta."