INDIANAPOLIS — Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree has been rated head and shoulders above others at his position. Even after revelations of a foot injury, Crabtree still should have a leg up on the competition.
A bone scan Friday revealed a slight stress fracture in Crabtree’s left foot that might require surgery. He already has seen Dr. Robert Anderson, one of the nation’s top foot doctors who is in Indianapolis with the Carolina Panthers. Crabtree will return to the Dallas area today to continue training at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in McKinney for his Pro Day on March 26 at John Kincaide Stadium. Sources close to Crabtree said the injury is not new, and, because he is feeling no pain, Crabtree will hold off on surgery at least until he runs for NFL scouts.
A doctor for an NFL team who has examined Crabtree said surgery has been recommended to insert a screw into the foot. Crabtree would be healed some eight weeks after surgery, the doctor said.
Texas receiver Quan Cosby, who is Crabtree’s roommate at the combine, said Crabtree is in “high spirits.”
“He’s still smiling, having a good time with the guys,” Cosby said. “He seems fine. He hasn’t changed one bit.”
Crabtree was not going to work out at the combine anyway. He still was rehabilitating a right ankle sprain, which he first injured against Baylor on Nov. 29 and re-injured in the Cotton Bowl.
And news of the foot injury didn’t seem to raise any red flags Saturday.
“He’s not going to play anytime soon, as I see it,” Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “It’s not a career-ending injury or anything like that. He’s a good football player. He has got plenty of time to get well. I don’t think it’ll hurt him a lot.
“Everybody has a history. He has a history; his history is pretty good. I think he’ll be OK.”
NFL scouts are interested in seeing Crabtree’s 40-yard dash time. He is expected to run in the low- to mid-4.5s. But teams are more interested in how he performed on the field.
“You’ve got a bunch of tapes to watch guys,” Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. “From our standpoint, we evaluate guys on how they play football, not just on how they run. Football players play with injuries; football players get injuries.
“The combine is great, but you watch players perform on tape. That’s really the top evaluation.”
Crabtree caught 231 passes for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns in 26 games. He twice won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver and finished fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2008.
Crabtree has been projected as a top-five draft choice.
“You always want to see as much as you can,” said Tom Modrak, the Buffalo Bills vice president of college scouting. “How much it hurts him, I really don’t know the answer.”
Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart ran at the combine last year before having surgery in March for a turf toe injury. There were questions about whether his draft stock would suffer, but he still was drafted 13th overall by the Carolina Panthers. Stewart rushed for 836 yards and 10 touchdowns last season as a rookie.
Crabtree hopes to be as fortunate with the crack in his fifth metatarsal bone.
Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot on the second play of the 2002 season. He missed 13 weeks before returning for the final three games that season.
And Missouri tight end Chase Coffman required surgery after he fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot on the last play of the Alamo Bowl. He will not work out at the combine but is expected to healed in time to participate in Missouri’s Pro Day on March 19.
Crabtree has five months until training camp.
“I know he’ll get through it, because he’s a strong athlete,” Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams said. “I know he’ll take care of business.”