Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

San Fran down a receiver after Crabtree tears Achilles

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree has had surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon.

Crabtree was operated on Wednesday, one day after suffering the injury during an organized team activity.

"Michael Crabtree underwent surgery to repair his Achilles tendon that he tore yesterday," coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday. "Surgery was successful and we do not anticipate it will be season-ending for Michael."

Harbaugh would not speculate when Crabtree might return to play.

The 25-year-old Crabtree, the team's 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Texas Tech, had career highs last season with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns for the NFC champion Niners, who lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

This could be a major setback for the two-time defending NFC West champions after Crabtree's breakout 2012 season. He was one of the big reasons the franchise returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years, clicking with quarterback Colin Kaepernick after his promotion to starter in November over departed 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith.

Kaepernick and Crabtree were eager to get back on the field together after falling just short in New Orleans back in February.

Kaepernick's fourth-down throw into the end zone in the closing moments sailed over Crabtree. Harbaugh and the 49ers argued that Crabtree got held, bumped by cornerback Jimmy Smith with safety Ed Reed trailing the play.

Crabtree also had five TDs and 30 catches on third-down plays last season -- both stats among the top five in the NFL.

He has bounced back the past two seasons from several injuries.

After a 71-day contract stalemate as a rookie, Crabtree was sidelined during the 2010 pre-season with a neck injury. A year later he was out with a broken foot sustained while working out in Alex Smith-organized practices during the NFL lockout.

In 2011, Crabtree led the team in catches (72) and yards receiving (874).

He had four catches for 25 yards and a four-yard touchdown reception in a 36-32 victory against Drew Brees and the favoured Saints in the NFC divisional playoffs.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2013 D4

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