Crabtree back in time to play Saints?

Updated: October 7, 2013, 5:14 PM ET
By Bill Williamson | ESPN.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers are on track to get a much-needed boost to their receiving crew in mid-November, as coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that he thinks Michael Crabtree will be "game ready" by then.

[+] EnlargeMichael Crabtree
Harry How/Getty ImagesMichael Crabtree has been sidelined since suffering an Achilles injury in May.

With that timeline in mind, Crabtree may be ready to play at New Orleans on Nov. 17. Crabtree, out since tearing his Achilles in May, has been making good process for some time.

The 49ers badly need Crabtree back and may be in the market for another receiver as well. San Francisco and Cleveland have discussed a trade for the Browns' Josh Gordon, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The 49ers have little at receiver behind Anquan Boldin, but there is more help on the way.

Harbaugh also said Monday he is hopeful receiver Mario Manningham, cornerback Eric Wright and rookie defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, who all are on the physically unable to perform list, can start practicing next week. Once they start practicing, the team can put them on the active roster within a three-week window. All four should have roles when they return.

Harbaugh said the team had no update on defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who suffered a right biceps injury in Sunday's win over Houston and underwent an MRI on Monday.

The coach also said he has exchanged a few texts with star pass rusher Aldon Smith, who has been in alcohol treatment for the past two weeks. Harbaugh said the reports the team are getting on Smith are positive but that there remains no timetable for his return.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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