Michael Crabtree underwent surgery on his torn Achilles' Wednesday, and is expected to be sidelined a minimum of six months.
The 49ers aren't messing around with their No. 1 receiver. Many have pointed to Terrell Suggs and Da'Quan Bowers' 2012 mid-season returns from spring Achilles' injuries as hope for Crabtree's 2013, but they are pass rushers required to do far less cutting than Crabtree does as a receiver. In a best-case scenario, Crabtree will likely begin the year on PUP with an eye toward returning in the playoffs. It's almost certainly going to be a lost year for a player coming off a breakout campaign.
Mikel Leshoure is being held out of team drills at Lions OTAs with an undisclosed injury.
"He's battling some stuff," coach Jim Schwartz said. "He can do some individual stuff but he's not ready to do any team work." There are no indications that the injury is serious, but it's worrisome news for a player who's had trouble staying healthy since being drafted. Leshoure can ill-afford more leg ailments after plodding through 2012. For now, Leshoure remains penciled in as the Lions' short-yardage "specialist" despite last season's anemic 3.71 yards per carry.
Hakeem Nicks was a no-show for Giants OTAs Wednesday.
Coach Tom Coughlin was steamed by Nicks' absence from the "voluntary" sessions. "He should be here," Coughlin said after professing ignorance as to why Nicks wasn't present. Recovering from a knee scope, Nicks wouldn't have been a full participant even if he showed. Going into the final year of his rookie contract, Nicks could be looking to avoid further injury, or perhaps signaling that the time to negotiate a new deal is now.
Ravens second-round LB Arthur Brown is recovering from sports-hernia surgery, and will be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
It means Brown should miss next month's minicamp, and is questionable for the start of training camp. It's a minor blow to the Ravens' inside linebacker corps on the heels of Rolando McClain's retirement as they look to replace Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe. The good news is, Brown is in no danger of missing regular-season games, and should get plenty of reps in the preseason. He's just losing some helpful development time. Brown is still going to start as a rookie.
USA Today reports Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in Tuesday's OTAs session.
It's a crushing blow for the 49ers, though they're holding out hope Crabtree can return at some point in 2013. Terrell Suggs and Da'Quan Bowers were both able to get on the field last season after suffering torn Achilles' in the spring, but neither ever seemed to make it all the way back to 100 percent. It will be an even tougher challenge for Crabtree, as receivers must constantly stop/start and change directions. It elevates Anquan Boldin to No. 1 receiver status, and places increased pressure on 2012 first-rounder A.J. Jenkins coming off his lost rookie season. Fourth-round pick Quinton Patton will now be no worse than the Niners' No. 3 receiver until Mario Manningham returns from his torn ACL. Even if it becomes clear Crabtree will play at some point this season, he shouldn't be considered more than a late-round flier in fantasy leagues. The news tilts Frank Gore's arrow slightly up, and Colin Kaepernick's slightly down.
Free agent MLB Brian Urlacher has retired from the NFL after 13 seasons.
Urlacher, 35 in three days, spent his entire career with the Bears. "Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards," Urlacher wrote in a statement. "When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear." It's hard to see Urlacher forced out of the game like this, but no team was willing to sign him after his skills declined sharply last season. An injury to a middle linebacker around the league could give Urlacher an opportunity, and he could change his mind. But at this moment, he finishes his career with 1,229 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, and eight Pro Bowl selections. He's a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft confirmed Rob Gronkowski's fourth arm surgery went "as good as he could have hoped."
Per Kraft, Gronk will be back "as soon as possible." Right now, "as soon as possible" appears to be mid-August. That's because Gronk is tentatively slated for "minor" back surgery sometime in the next 3-4 weeks. Like Robert Griffin III, Gronk's Week 1 status will be hard to accurately gauge before training camp.
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(May 22) Evan Silva examines the fallout from Michael Crabtree's torn Achilles' tendon, in both real life and fantasy football.