Greg Roman couldn't help but notice the rehab work taking place on the 49ers turf practice field.
The 49ers offensive coordinator, on his way to the podium for a Tuesday press conference with the media, stared at the player for a minute.
Roman was looking at fifth-year wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The star play-maker was doing a few movement drills under the watch of the 49ers strength and conditioning staff. Crabtree, recovering from a torn Achilles, has made continued progress from the injury he suffered at Organized Team Activities in May.
"He's working hard," Roman said of the sure-handed receiver who is currently on the team's Physically Unable to Perform List and could be activated later in the regular season.
Although Crabtree rehabs at the 49ers facility daily, attends games and meetings, Roman wasn't sure about the timetable of the wide receiver's return.
"I don't think there's any specific day or date," said Roman, who stressed the decision will be made by the team's medical staff.
"If we can get him back this year," Roman added, "that'd be gravy."
Roman didn't think it would be out of the question to see No. 15 back in uniform at some point this season.
"I think the way he's working now, it's quite possible, but again, I think you probably want to talk to the medical staff," the 49ers play-caller said.
For now, Crabtree is working to regain full-strength in his lower body. During his time away from the field, Crabtree has also been an extra set of eyes for his fellow wideouts, including rookie Quinton Patton.
"Every time he's talking to me, he's telling me how to see something better than what I'm seeing," Patton, the fourth-round draft pick said. "He's been a good mentor to me."
According to Patton, Crabtree's been most vocal in wide receiver meetings.
San Francisco's star wideout is also not far off the mind of his quarterback.
"I always check in with our receivers," Colin Kaepernick said when asked about his ongoing relationship with Crabtree.
Crabtree's rehab progress isn't a surprise to the signal-caller either.
"He's a worker," Kaepernick said of Crabtree. "He comes in and works every day. It doesn't surprise me at all."