Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Crabtree uncertain about workout plan
ESPN.com news services
INDIANAPOLIS -- Michael Crabtree might not perform in front of NFL scouts, after all.
Crabtree, the top-rated receiver in this year's draft, has a stress fracture in his left foot, and doctors at the league scouting combine recommended he have surgery to insert a screw.
Crabtree initially decided he would delay the surgery until after his personal workout next month in Lubbock, Texas. On Tuesday, however, he told the NFL Network he was reconsidering, saying it was only "50-50" that he would run before having the procedure.
Michael Crabtree says he will take some more time before deciding on when to have foot surgery.
On ESPN's "NFL Live" Tuesday afternoon, Crabtree said he was not sure what to do after hearing conflicting opinions, but realizes that time is running out.
"I feel like everybody doesn't have the same answer. I need some time to make that decision, whether I'm going to do this surgery and be ready for minicamp, or take this challenge everyone's giving me to run the 40." Crabtree said. "It's a life-changing decision right now."
Rehabilitation is expected to take 10 weeks or more, meaning Crabtree wouldn't be able to work out for scouts before the April 25-26 draft if the procedure were done soon.
There already are questions about how his condition might affect his draft status. Before the combine, most projected the record-setting Texas Tech receiver to be among the top five picks -- and he still might.
But he measured 6-foot-1 -- 2 inches shorter than his listed height at Texas Tech, creating a potential concern for teams that thought he fit the mold of a taller receiver such as Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald.
There could be additional questions about his durability. Crabtree spent part of last season dealing with a right ankle injury and now there are questions about his foot.
With none of the usual statistics to evaluate -- such as the 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle -- scouts could have a difficult time assessing Crabtree against such receivers as Missouri's Jeremy Maclin or Florida's Percy Harvin.
"He has a history, and his history is pretty good," Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said Saturday. "I think he'll be OK."
In the past two seasons at Texas Tech, Crabtree has put together a résumé worthy of being the first receiver selected in April.
He won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver each of the past two years, the first repeat winner since the honor was established in 1994. He also earned All-America honors the past two seasons.
As a freshman, Crabtree caught 134 passes for 1,962 yards and 22 TDs -- all national bests and NCAA freshman records. Last season, he caught another 97 passes for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns despite being slowed by the ankle injury.
"I suffered this injury in the Texas A&M game," he said. "Initially, we thought that I could play on the foot, but as we got closer to the combine we realized that I have to get this fixed."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.