Wide receivers Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree are both progressing well at practice as they try to return to action from serious injuries they suffered. Manningham is recovering from a knee injury, while Crabtree is overcoming a torn Achilles.
Manningham is further along than Crabtree in his recovery and he should be able to play on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Crabtree is not expected to make his 2013 debut until Week 13.
Even though Manningham will be on the field, how much of an impact he will have on the offense is uncertain. But having Manningham on the field will give a boost to the offense as he is reliable threat in the passing game the Panthers defense will have to count for. Still, it might take a quarter or two for him to get adjusted to playing in a live game. He has not played since December 2012 because of a torn ACL. When asked this week about his role on Sunday the wideout said, “Make plays.” Mario also said about his progress,
I wouldn’t go out there if I wasn’t feeling 100 or close to 100 (percent). I’m still working, still doing what I have to do to prepare myself, better myself and get my body ready…Now I just have to show up in a game, get bumped around a bit and I’ll be right back to where I was.
[Related Video: Manningham Talks About Progress]
According to head coach Jim Harbaugh, Crabtree has been on what he described as a “pitch count.” Crabtree has been mainly running routes at practice and he has only taken part in individual periods. It has been six months since the receiver suffered a torn Achilles at OTAs. This week he also said he is getting great reactions from the Niners medical staff after practice.
The doctors say I’m going in the right direction. So I’m just going to keep going, step by step, one step at a time.
Even with all of the progress, Crabtree still does not know when he will return to the field. The 49ers have a three-week window to either activate Crabs to the roster or place on the team’s Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, which would shut him down for the rest of the season. He knows he must first go through a full practice and then after that he should be ready.
Really get through a whole practice. Really get into the groove of things with ‘Kap’ and those guys, the offensive line. Really just get in-tune with the whole team. Once I do that, I’m going to be ready to play.