Updates from Sunday, Sept. 7
The 49ers confirmed that Michael Crabtree is active for today's game vs. Dallas:
#49ers inactives: QB Johnson, WR Patton, CB Cook, T Davis, DT Dial and DT Carradine.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 7, 2014
Updates from Friday, Sept. 5
The 49ers officially announced Crabtree's status for Week 1:
The San Francisco 49ers may need to make do without star wide receiver Michael Crabtree once again as he is currently dealing with a calf injury heading into the team's season opener.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com provides details on Crabtree's calf injury:
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was held out of practice Wednesday due to a calf injury, the 49ers disclosed on their mandatory participation report.
It's the second leg injury for Crabtree from the start of training camp up to the 49ers' first regular-season game. He sustained a hamstring injury that kept in out of action for 16 days during training camp. Crabtree's availability for the regular-season opener on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys is not known.
Crabtree is not the only 49ers’ starter whose status is in question.
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole has more:
For the 49ers faithful, it is another troubling turn of events in what has been a miserable two years for the former Texas Tech standout from a health standpoint.
A torn Achilles derailed Crabtree's 2013 campaign, which saw him return in December and score just one touchdown and tally one game with more than 100 receiving yards:
To his credit, though, Crabtree flashed his 2012 form in the postseason against Green Bay with 125 yards on eight receptions. He admitted this offseason that he was not near 100 percent, though, per Maiocco: "I was fast enough to be on the field. But I wasn't me.”
Those sporadic bursts of elite play despite being somewhat mired in a run-first attack are what make injuries such as this so maddening. Just when hope begins to surface, as it did this offseason, that further time off would mean a return to that 2012 form, Crabtree missed a chunk of camp with a hamstring issue.
Hence why the team and its top wideout had made little ground on a contract extension before camp, and why Crabtree was reportedly playing it smart by looking for a prove-it deal, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
Is Crabtree a No. 1 WR? Talent, yes. Injuries make it tough. He's willing to earn thru incentives top-end $$ rather than argue for that base— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 19, 2014
The good news is that this recent issue with Crabtree in no way cripples the team. In fact, the front office has done its best to future-proof the roster on the chance he was going to miss time again as early as this year.
Last season, veteran Anquan Boldin was a pseudo No. 1 wideout and caught 85 passes for 1,179 yards. He's still around and flanked by 2013 fourth-round pick Quinton Patton, who figures to play a bigger role regardless and has the talent to step in now and contribute. Rookie Bruce Ellington can stretch the field, too.
Perhaps most important of all was the offseason acquisition of Stevie Johnson, who spent the first six years of his career in Buffalo and racked up 1,000-yard outputs in half of them despite miserable quarterback situations.
Also remember that the team spent a second-round pick this year on Carlos Hyde to complement Frank Gore, meaning that run-heavy approach is still out in full force.
The point is, the loss of Crabtree might sting if he is forced to miss time this season but not so much that the 49ers are suddenly out of the postseason conversation. The team missed him most of last year and still won 12 games, and it only improved the depth of the position this past offseason.
San Francisco would still be ready to roll if this injury forces him to miss any time. Such is life for one of the NFL's best organizations, although having Crabtree healthy this season should ensure the 49ers remain in Super Bowl contention.