No idea yet of the severity of the injury, but the bearer of the pain makes it worth monitoring: WR Michael Crabtree went up for an Alex Smith duck during 7-on-7 this afternoon, and landed hard on his back. He stayed down for a minute, then spent much of practice consulting with a trainer on the sideline. The preliminary diagnosis: a neck strain.
Crabtree eventually headed to the training room for further observation.
It wasn’t like Crab had been a big part of the 49ers’ offense in recent practices. He got “veteran courtesy” – not bad for a guy with 11 career NFL games – Tuesday morning and again Wednesday morning. In between, he sat out a special-teams practice.
Coach Mike Singletary confirmed at midday that Crabtree was “sore.” Now he’s sorer. Expect an update tomorrow. By the way, the receiver dropped the first two passes that came his way in 7-on-7, though the first from Alex Smith was a wobbler.
More notes and observations from the 49ers’ afternoon practice…
• I hesitate to write this, because I fear I’ll have to patrol the Golden Gate Bridge to make sure Niners fans aren’t lining up at the railing. But the passing offense struggled again this afternoon, with Smith right in the middle of it. His accuracy wasn’t miles off, but he fluttered several throws on an admittedly windy field.
Other times Smith threw nice-looking spirals that were simply off-target, like a deep ball to TE Delanie Walker. Twice he seemed to be on different pages of the playbook than his target – once with WR Kyle Williams (seemed to be the rookie’s mistake) and once with either Ted Ginn or Frank Gore, hard to say which. A couple times cornerbacks blitzed unimpeded off the edge and sacked Smith. And when he delivered, his receivers didn’t always accept the gift; WR Josh Morgan and FB Brit Miller both dropped catchable balls. Smith went 6 for 12 in the final team session, assuming Morgan got his feet inside the end line on the final pass.
It just isn’t safe to be on the sidelines lately. After hitting a cameraman Tuesday morning, Smith plugged a fan in the shoulder while overthrowing Morgan in the final team session.
• Busy day of roster moves. The 49ers waived ILB Scott McKillop injured, which could be a risky move. If no one claims McKillop, who tore his ACL and patellar tendon, he will revert to the Niners’ injured reserve. That’s what happened with OLB Martail Burnett (knee) today. Meanwhile, the team waived WR Scott Long and signed WR Bobby Guillory, who grew up in Vallejo and played at Central Missouri, to a two-year contract.
• WR Brandon Jones (hamstring) and OLB Travis LaBoy (concussion) remain down, though ILB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder) returned to practice. OLB Diyral Briggs was ill. DE Justin Smith, ILB Takeo Spikes and S Michael Lewis all got veteran courtesy.
• Does it seem like I keep saying this lately? WR Dominique Zeigler made the catch of the day, a falling grab in the end zone on a ball thrown by Nate Davis. Zeigler and Williams, who beat CB Tramaine Brock for a score, are really emerging.
• The offense had no answer for those corner blitzes. Will James had two and Tarell Brown one, all off the left side of the defense.
• Singletary previously blasted jazz standards to disorient the offense in team period. Today the music had a distinct 1970s soul sound. We may see the birth of hip-hop before the end of training camp.