- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The answers to all of the San Francisco 49ers’ receiving troubles were on display on the practice field Wednesday.
Mannigham is expected to play Sunday against Carolina. After practice, Manningham sounded supremely confident. He hasn’t played since he injured his knee last December, but he said he is “full go” and is preparing to play Sunday. His goal for the game?
“Make plays,” he said. “Make plays.”
Manningham will give the team a much-needed boost. The 49ers have gotten virtually no production at receiver aside from Anquan Boldin. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is looking forward to getting Manningham on the field.
“Mario, he’s a receiver that’s easy to throw to,” Kaepernick said. “So it’s not going to take much time for him to get back up to speed.”
While Manningham is ready to help now, Crabtree, the team’s best receiver, still has work to do. But the fact that he is practicing is crucial. Crabtree, who tore his Achilles in May, said he’s been working on his speedwork for two to three weeks, and is looking to get comfortable before he plays.
While Crabtree is on track to be ready by the end of the month -- he must be activated or shelved for the season by Nov. 26 -- he will be eased into practice.
“Well, same thing, good to have him back, you know. 15 reporting eligible,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Everybody kind of watches out of the corner of their eyes, they’re doing their drills and it’s neat to see any player that comes back from a serious injury. Understanding the grueling rehab that’s taken place, the mental toughness, grinding through those rehab sessions to be where they are now, and that’s an exciting day when they trot out there in uniform and start taking reps. … He’ll have a pitch count.”