The mid-season influx of talent onto the 49ers' roster continues.
The team announced Tuesday 2012's top wideout Michael Crabtree has been cleared to practice after tearing his Achilles tendon in May. The team has 21 days to add him to the 53-man roster and will re-join the team Dec. 1 when it hosts the Rams at the latest.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said weeks ago he anticipated Crabtree's return to come in mid-to-late November. The 49ers play the Panthers Sunday, the Saints Nov. 17 and the Redskins Nov. 25 on "Monday Night Football." The Texas Tech alum has been on a grueling rehab regiment and will be able to wear pads for the first time in nearly six months.
Crabtree's absence hasn't hurt the team as much as originally anticipated. Through eight games, San Francisco is 6-2 coming off its bye and has already seen a gluttony of talent inserted into the roster in recent weeks.
Aldon Smith, Mario Manningham, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial and Eric Wright have all been plugged in, making the 49ers' talented roster even deeper than before. San Francisco is one of three teams in the NFC with at least six wins.
Crabtree figures to be the final piece of the puzzle as the team gears up for its second-half playoff run. All eight of their remaining games will come against NFC opponents. The games at New Orleans and at home with Seattle (Dec. 8) will go a long way toward determining playoff seeding.
San Francisco is currently one game back of the Seahawks, whose remaining opponents have a combined 24-33 record with 12 of those wins coming from the 49ers and Saints.
Outside of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, the 49ers have struggled to find other options in the passing game. Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore (since released and signed by the Dolphins), Jon Baldwin and Quinton Patton have combined for just 16 receptions on 36 targets with no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Colin Kaepernick has a 32.40 quarterback rating when targeting those secondary receivers.
The 49ers also added Manningham to the roster this week, which will upgrade the league's worst passing attack. San Francisco's 189.9 passing yards per game ranks last in the NFL. But with Crabtree and Manningham back, it will take pressure of the No. 1 running attack in the league. San Francisco has run on nearly 56 percent of their plays, more than any other team and also lead the league with 153 yards per game on the ground.
With Crabtree in the lineup during the playoffs last season, Kaepernick averaged 266 yards per game and a QB rating of 100.9. Crabtree caught Kaepernick's lone touchdown pass in the Super Bowl and emerged as one of the NFC's top young receivers in 2012.
Crabtree has seen steady increases in his production since coming into the league as a first-round draft pick in 2009. He led the team with 1,105 receiving yards last season and became Kaepernick's favorite target on third down.
*Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used in this report*
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