Michael Crabtree Tears Achilles, Depletes San Fran Receiving Core
Michael Crabtree, one of the best young playmakers in the NFL, could be sidelined for the rest of the season because of a torn Achilles he suffered during an OTA workout yesterday. The loss will be a devastating one for the 49ers, particularly for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who developed an immediate chemistry with Crabtree when he took over the starting role for Alex Smith last season.
“Michael Crabtree underwent surgery to repair his Achilles tendon that he tore yesterday,” 49ers coach coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Surgery was successful and we do not anticipate it will be season-ending for Michael.”
Many believed that Crabtree was on the verge of a breakout season, particularly given his strong finish to the year last season. However, any potential leap will have to wait for at least six months while he recuperates from the operation.
“I go hard for my friends, family and fans, just felt like I let everybody down,” Crabtree said on Twitter. “But I’ll be back ready!! I promise!”
“Good news is he woke up from the surgery and the first thing, asked the doctor how it went,” Harbaugh said. “(The doctor) talked about the success of the surgery and he didn’t anticipate he’d be out for the year. His comment to that was, ‘Got no choice but to be back.’ Every day now is a healing day, and that starts today.”
“It’s a setback, but Michael’s young, he’s strong. Everything will be a positive approach to healing and we’ll anticipate great things,” Harbaugh continued. “Another thing right now is if you look at the young receivers on our team that will emerge because they have to emerge. I’m excited to watch them compete for that spot.”
Thankfully for San Francisco, the team has a deep roster of talent. They traded a sixth-round pick for former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin in the offseason, and they also have Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams, two talented wideouts. Tight end Vernon Davis, one of the most explosive pure athletes in the league, fell off the map when Kaepernick took over for quarterback. However, the two will have to work on building a rapport and chemistry before the season begins. Davis will have to be an integral part of any 49ers’ passing game until Crabtree can return at full strength.
“We’re excited for the young receivers that we have, and feel that somebody’s going to emerge there,” he said. “Competition will create that, and we’ll look forward to watching that.”
The 49ers will be one of the most heavily-favored contenders in the NFC when the season begins, and while the loss of Crabtree hurts them, they should be able to contend for a division crown and even another Super Bowl appearance with the talent they have.
“In all, this isn’t an insurmountable loss for the 49ers and their offense, but it’s a legitimate one,” Grantland’s Bill Barnwell wrote. “San Francisco will very likely struggle with finding a replacement for Crabtree, but it will get enough out of its passing game to (in concert with its excellent rushing attack) get by in 2013.”