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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Recalling J.J. Stokes as Crabtree stays away

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Tenth overall draft choice Michael Crabtree has missed the first 12 days of 49ers training camp practices.

The last unsigned 49ers rookie receiver that missed anywhere near that long was J.J. Stokes. Stokes suffered through a brutal first day of camp, only to break a bone in his hand during a non-contact drill 16 days later. Chosen 10th overall in 1995, he missed the first four games of his rookie season. He was "rarin' to go" in Week 5 against the Giants, but Stokes made little impact until the final two regular-season games.

Reporting to his first training camp on time wouldn't have necessarily altered Stokes' career course, but the longer a rookie misses, the harder his transition figures to be. That seems particularly likely for Crabtree given how much offseason work he missed while recovering from minor foot surgery.