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Crabtree has stress fracture in foot, will hold off on surgery

INDIANAPOLIS -- Medical testing at the scouting combine here revealed that Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, one of the top prospects in this year's NFL draft, has a slight stress fracture in his left foot, league sources said Saturday morning.

After discussions and debate throughout the day, Crabtree and his advisors have decided to hold off on any surgery until after his March 26 Pro Day, those close to the player said Saturday.

One reason the surgery is being delayed is because Crabtree is not feeling any pain in his foot. He still wants to run the 40-yard dash for NFL coaches and scouts next month.

But Crabtree also is aware that, if the injury is aggravated in any way during his training process, then surgery would have to be performed right away and a screw will have to be inserted into his foot. Once surgery is performed, Crabtree would be expected to be sidelined about 10 weeks.

If he is able to hold off on the surgery until after his Pro Day, Crabtree then would miss his new team's rookie minicamps and not return to action until mid June. But those close to him expect that he will not have any issues being ready for training camp.

But for the time being, Crabtree will hold off on any surgery until after he runs two 40-yard dashes for NFL scouts and coaches. It is for Crabtree, at least for the time being, the most pressing business.

After doctors found the slight stress fracture on Friday they conducted more testing on Crabtree, including a bone scan that revealed that the injury happened only recently, possibly during training for the combine. Since finding it, Crabtree has been investigating the best and smartest way to treat the injury.

Crabtree is hardly the first player forced to battle through a slight stress fracture. Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens once had one before having a screw inserted in his foot, and just last year, running back Jonathan Stewart opted for the same procedure that Crabtree contemplated and Carolina still drafted him with the 13th overall pick.

Crabtree also measured slightly shorter than expected, coming in at 6-foot-1 3/8 and weighing 214 pounds. Most teams thought Crabtree was 6-foot-3. But as Seahawks head coach Jim Mora pointed out, Crabtree had the longest arms of any receiver in the draft, and it easily would cancel out whatever the wide receiver was missing in height.

The only two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top wide receiver, Crabtree was regarded as a surefire top-five pick. He still is expected to be a top pick, but how his injury will affect his draft status will be one of the most hotly debated questions.

"It's just part of the process. You can't worry about it, that is just the way it is," Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. "This is unfortunate for him. The combine is great, but you watch tape and watch players perform on tape. That's really the top evaluation."

If Crabtree's stock does drop, receivers such as Florida's Percy Harvin and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin could move up. That's not how Harvin wanted to move up draft boards.

"I'm a competitor. I don't worry about Crabtree or Maclin or any of them," Harvin said Saturday. "I'm going to go in with the best and just line up and see what we can do."

Crabtree's former teammates in Indy were disappointed for their friend, but believe Crabtree will be fine.

"I know he'll get through it because he's a strong athlete," Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams said. "I know he'll take care of business."

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report

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