49ers catch situation before Crabtree does too much

Michael Crabtree caught about 25 passes at the start of practice for the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, and the club apparently came dangerously close to violating NFL rules because the wide receiver remains on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he hasn’t passed a physical.

Crabtree has been out while he heals following surgery to repair a fractured foot. But wearing a shorts, a sweatshirt and cleats, he caught passes from quarterback Alex Smith during the warmup period of practice, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, and coach Jim Harbaugh threw him a final pass.

Before long, general manager Trent Baalke was on the field chatting with Harbaugh. Chances are, he was explaining Crabtree couldn’t practice because he was on the PUP list. Baalke then contacted the NFL office to explain what happened, and Barrows reports the league said it was looking into the matter.

The good news is Crabtree should be practicing again soon. For real.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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