Harbaugh optimistic Crabtree will play in 2013
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SANTA CLARA – After 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed that wide receiver Michael Crabtree went under the knife to repair a fully torn right Achilles tendon, he made it clear that he does not expect to be without his No. 1 receiver all season.

[RELATED: Crabtree out with torn Achilles]

The usual timetable for recovery after the surgery is six months, which would put Crabtree back on the field around November.

Harbaugh wouldn’t endorse a specific timetable this early in the process, though.

“Where we’re at now, day one, successful surgery,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll start his healing. We do not anticipate that it will be season ending.”

The Achilles tear occurred during a 7-on-7 drill Tuesday in Santa Clara.

“He was coming in motion and just planted and started a route,” Harbaugh said. “He felt like somebody kicked him in the Achilles, which sometimes people say it feels like.”

Linebacker Patrick Willis witnessed Crabtree’s injury and shared his perspective.

“It was just a simple normal cut. It’s crazy how an injury such as this happened like that. Some people think you have to be jumping to the moon or get hit like crazy to have a crazy injury. But sometimes it’s just as simple as running and something just gives.”

[RATTO: Crabtree injury leaves Harbaugh with three options]

Harbaugh was late to Wednesday’s practice because he visited Crabtree at Stanford, where the surgery was performed by Dr. Tim McAdams.

“He woke up from the surgery and the first thing he asked the doc was how it went,” Harbaugh said. “[Dr. McAdams] talked about the success of the surgery and that he didn’t anticipate that he’d be out for the year. And [Crabtree’s] comment to that was he’s got no choice but to be back.”

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who looked to Crabtree early and often since taking the starting job from Alex Smith last season, was also optimistic Crabtree will return ready to take the field.

“He’s a great player,” Kaepernick said. “He’s going to come out here and give it everything he has.”

For the time being, Crabtree can only give everything he has to the rehab process and Harbaugh has no doubt that one of the offense’s most valuable weapons will dedicate himself to healing, just as running back Kendall Hunter did following an identical injury.

[RELATED: 49ers all in on 'next man up' philosophy]

“I think it’ll be just a positive approach that he’ll take,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll trust the doctors and Michael’s will to compete and return. And we think that’ll have a good result and great things will happen for us and Michael.”

Perhaps Harbaugh realized his faith in the power of positive thinking seemed strange coming from a man who questioned why reporters asked him how he felt following a Super Bowl loss, so he shared his inspiration. 

“I was listening to Dr. Sanjay Gupta this morning when I was driving to work and he was talking about the positive effect of the mind on healing the body,” Harbaugh said. “And that’s the approach we’ll take now.”