SANTA CLARA — Just as the passing game has started to click for the San Francisco 49ers at last, here comes Michael Crabtree.
The team's top wide receiver from 2012 is back on the active roster six months after Achilles tendon surgery and poised to make his season debut Sunday against St. Louis if all goes as hoped during practice this week.
"There's things he does that he's the best in football at, and that certainly bodes well for us and we're excited about it," coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday. "Catching the ball, there's routes that he runs, tackles he breaks, plays that he makes. There's evidence there."
Adding Crabtree to the mix for the 49ers (7-4) would provide a big boost to a receiving corps that made significant strides in a 27-6 win at Washington on Monday night. Crabtree became Colin Kaepernick's top target last year and had career bests of 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns.
"I'm good," Crabtree said but he wouldn't elaborate. He was activated from the physically unable to perform list Tuesday to the 53-man active roster.
Harbaugh won't tip his hand too early in the week, while also noting that everything depends on how Crabtree gets through practice.
"Good meetings this morning. Good sessions there. Bright-eyed and ready to go," Harbaugh said before the team practiced Wednesday. "Optimistic like I said the other day. Hope for the best and we'll have a plan if he's not able to go. It's pretty much that simple."
Mario Manningham continues to impress playing opposite Anquan Boldin after three games back following knee surgery last year. Manningham hopes his unit can build off a strong performance and develop some consistency.