Programming note: After the 49ers game in Washington is over tonight, change the channel to 49ers Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
WASHINGTON – The return of 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree will have to wait at least another week.
The 49ers did not activate Crabtree to the 53-man roster by the 1 p.m. (PT) deadline Monday, making him ineligible to make his season debut in the nationally televised night game against Washington at 5:30 p.m.
The 49ers must clear a spot to place Crabtree on the team’s roster by the end of the day Tuesday in order for him to be eligible for the final five regular-season games, as well as any possible playoff games. Crabtree's return to action could take place Sunday against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park.
Crabtree was cleared to resume practice Nov. 5 – just 24 weeks after he underwent surgery to repair a completely torn right Achilles tendon. Crabtree has taken part in limited practices during his three weeks on the field.
Once Crabtree began practicing, the clock started on a 21-day window. The 49ers could have activated Crabtree any time within that period. At the end of three weeks, ending Tuesday, the 49ers must activate Crabtree to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ passing game has suffered without Crabtree, who led the team with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Crabtree became the 49ers’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003.
The 49ers rank last in the NFL in passing yards. Kaepernick ranks 31st in the NFL with a 56.3 completion percentage. Including his 412-yard passing performance in Week 1 against Green Bay, Kaepernick has averaged just 180.2 yards passing per game.
Crabtree enjoyed great success a year ago after the mid-season switch from Alex Smith to Kaepernick.
In 8 1/2 games with Smith at quarterback, Crabtree caught 43 passes for 459 yards and four touchdowns. In 10 1/2 games with Kaepernick, including the postseason, Crabtree had 62 receptions for 931 yards and eight touchdowns.
Crabtree sustained a torn Achilles on May 21 while running a pass route in the 49ers’ offseason program. He underwent surgery the following day.