The soreness has subsided, the Achilles’ feels strong, and when 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree watches himself on film, he looks, well, like Michael Crabtree.
“That’s probably what made me feel comfortable,” Crabtree said Friday. “Just practicing every day, feeling the ground with my foot and getting ready to play.”
Crabtree practiced in full throughout the week and isn’t even listed on the team’s injury report. Asked if Crabtree would make his 2013 debut Sunday against the Rams, coach Jim Harbaugh said, “Looks that way.”
It’s been six months since Crabtree, the team’s leading receiver in 2012, suffered a complete rupture of his right Achilles’ tendon, and the 49ers’ passing game has suffered without him. It ranks last in the NFL in yards per game, and just two 49ers – Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis – have caught touchdown passes this season.
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With few threats in the passing game, defenses have been able to stack the line of scrimmage against Frank Gore and the running game. Gore has averaged just 3.6 yards a carry in the last five games.
Along with Boldin, a healthy Crabtree would give the 49ers two wide receivers known for their toughness and for catching passes in traffic.
When Crabtree gets a full workload still is uncertain. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said the 49ers likely would ease Crabtree back into the offense but would let the circumstances – how the receiver feels, etc. – dictate how much he plays.
Crabtree said he felt “great” during practice this week, but he was careful not to “hype anything up” about his return.
“I just want to go play ball like I do every Sunday,” he said. “It’s going to be good to be out there with everybody, back out there with my offensive line. They are some of my favorite guys … .
“It’s really going to be great with Anquan, though, somebody you looked up to when you were younger. Now I get to play beside him. Last year I had Randy Moss. This year it’s Anquan. Every year they’re giving me somebody.”