NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver suffered a torn Achilles tendon during organized team activities Tuesday, according to a person informed of the injury.
Crabtree already has had surgery to repair his torn Achilles, according to Rapoport. Crabtree now begins an estimated six months of rehab, according to Rapoport, which means the receiver could return as early as November.
Niners coach Jim Harbaughconfirmed with reporters Wednesday that Crabtree had successful surgery. Harbaugh also said Crabtree's not expected to miss the entire season.
It's a brutal development for the 49ers, who watched Crabtree bloom into a Pro Bowl-level receiver in his fourth NFL season. Crabtree set career highs in receptions (85), yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine). His production took off after Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback.
If there's a silver lining for the 49ers, it's the progress that has been made in the treatment of this type of injury. An Achilles tear once was an instant season-ender, but that has changed in recent times.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers both tore the same tendon last spring and rejoined their respective teams after stays on the physically unable to perform list.
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That said, neither player was close to 100 percent when they got back on the field. It's wishful thinking to expect Crabtree will regain his pre-injury explosiveness over the next six months.
The 49ers' acquisition of Anquan Boldin is especially huge now. With Crabtree down and Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams recovering from serious knee injuries, the 49ers don't have much depth at receiver. This would be an ideal time for 2012 first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins to upgrade from spectator status.