Michael Crabtree cleared to practice for 49ers


The San Francisco 49ers' wide receiver depth chart is improving by the day.

One day after Mario Manningham was activated from the team's physically unable to perform list, the team announced that Michael Crabtree has been cleared to practice.

Crabtree has been sidelined since suffering a torn Achilles during organized team activities in May.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said Crabtree's return could come as early as mid-to-late November. He has a 21-day period to practice, allowing the 49ers to determine when he will be activated off the team's PUP list.

Crabtree bloomed into a Pro Bowl-level receiver in 2012, setting career highs in receptions (85), yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine). His production took off after Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith as San Francisco's starting quarterback.

The biggest question is if the post-surgery Crabtree will have the same burst and separation ability he possessed before the injury. If so, the 49ers just gained a big chess piece for the stretch run.

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