Crabtree returns to field -- against PUP rules?

August 29, 2011, 10:31 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- Receiver Michael Crabtree made his return to the 49ers' practice field Monday afternoon.Crabtree, whom the 49ers have yet to remove from the physically-unable-to-perform list, caught more than 20 passes during warmups from quarterbacks Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Josh McCown and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.Crabtree even caught a pass from coach Jim Harbaugh before general manager Trent Baalke walked onto the practice field, apparently, to inform Harbaugh that Crabtree was not allowed to physically participate in any aspect of practice until he's removed from the PUP list.
Crabtree was not in uniform. He wore a red sweatshirt, gray shorts and a backward baseball cap.Reporters observed Crabtree catching short passes during the early portion of practice that league rules mandate must be open to the local media. It is not known if the 49ers would be subject to any league-imposed penalties.NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, contacted by Comcast SportsNet for clarification, sent the following email Monday afternoon:"We are looking into it. We appreciate Trent Baalke contacting our office to report what happened. Our understanding is that it occurred during warm-ups and that Michael Crabtree did not participate in practice."
Crabtree has been on the PUP list since the opening of training camp with a left foot injury he sustained June 6 at San Jose State during the players-led workouts during the NFL lockout. The Sacramento Bee reported that Crabtree had surgery prior to training camp to repair a fracture.
It's the same foot on which Crabtree underwent surgery in March 2009 prior to the draft. The 49ers selected Crabtree with the No. 10 overall pick.