Michael Crabtree getting closer to return

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Wide receiver Michael Crabtree practiced Thursday as the San Francisco 49ers began to work in earnest ahead of Monday night’s game at Washington.

It is not out of the question that Crabtree is activated in time for Monday’s game, but it appears to be a long shot. Crabtree, who tore his Achilles in May, must be activated by Tuesday or be shelved for the rest of the season. The 49ers plan on activating Crabtree, even though he may not be ready to play right away.

By all accounts, Crabtree is making strides, but the team doesn’t not want to rush him to the field. The 49ers want him at full strength for the final few weeks of the season.

Meanwhile, there were no big practice surprises Thursday. Guard Mike Iupati (knee sprain), cornerback Tarell Brown (ribs), defensive tackle Ray McDonald (ankle) and tight end Garrett Celek (hamstring) did not practice. They are all not expected to play Monday.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick appeared on the injury list with an undisclosed back issue, but he practiced fully. It is not expected to be a problem.

Meanwhile, coach Jim Harbaugh said rookie receiver Quinton Patton should be returning to practice soon and is expected to play again this season. He’s been out since Week 4 with a broken foot.