Michael Crabtree has not been seen at the start of practice this week while the media has been out on the field.
That's a change from last week, when Crabtree was seen donning a blue non-contact jersey while running routes and catching passes at the start of the team's afternoon practice sessions.
Days off are apart of Crabtree's rehabilitation process, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman wouldn't rule him out for Sunday's game in New Orleans. The team has an open roster spot after releasing Kyle Williams and Perrish Cox earlier this week.
"Mike's coming along," Roman said. "He's day-to-day and it remains to be seen if he's going to play this week. But he's looking really good."
When peppered with questions about Crabtree's participation in Wednesday's practice, Roman wouldn't divulge his level of participation, but did say he was out on the field. The team is not required to include Crabtree on the daily injury report because he's still on the Physically Unable to Perform list and not the 53-man roster.
Jim Harbaugh was asked if Crabtree's return was a possibility on Wednesday.
"We'll see," he said. "I'm not going to make any predictions today...but we've been encouraged with his progress and there's other options as well."
The 49ers have until Nov. 26, the day after their Monday Night game in Washington, to add Crabtree to the roster.
Colin Kaepernick passed for just 46 net yards in Sunday's 10-9 loss to Carolina after being sacked six times. After Vernon Davis left the game in the second quarter with a concussion, the offense stagnated and failed to execute a scoring drive.
The 49ers' passing attack came under fire again this week after three lackluster performances in the team's three losses. Davis missed the majority of two of those games, while Crabtree has been absent the entire season. He had a career-best 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns during the team's Super Bowl run in 2012. San Francisco is last in the NFL averaging 174 yards per game so far this season through the air.
Corner Carlos Rogers said he was unsure if Crabtree is fit to play in Sunday's crucial conference game after going against him in practice since he was officially activated Nov. 5.
"He goes out there and he practices some, but being off an Achilles you never know. One day you can feel good, one day you can feel like it's tight. So it's hard to say. Until he gets out there and can get fully into it, that's when I can determine. I don't think he's ready right now to line up and talk trash like he was," Rogers said.
Without Crabtree, the 49ers would be left with Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham and Jon Baldwin as it's top-three receivers. Quinton Patton returned to practice this week after fracturing his foot in Week 4's win in St. Louis, but has been officially ruled out for Sunday. The timetable for his return is also unknown, although Harbaugh intimated he expects him back in the coming weeks.
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