Mario Manningham to start on PUP

Mario Manningham, who was on crutches in January at Super Bowl media day, is making good progress in his recovery from his knee injury but will start the 2013 season on the PUP list. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Although the San Francisco 49ers are pleased with Mario Manningham's recovery from a knee injury suffered last December, the wide receiver will start the season on the physically unable to perform list, coach Jim Harbaugh said Sunday.

By rule, players who are placed on the PUP list to start the season must sit out the first six games. Teams then have from Oct. 15 through Nov. 19 in which those players can practice for a period of 21 days. After that practice period, teams must decide whether to activate the player or place him on injured reserve.

Manningham, 27, had 42 receptions for 449 yards and a touchdown last season, his first with the 49ers after four with the New York Giants. Harbaugh said Manningham's rehab is "going very well."

"Been great feedback on Mario. He's really feeling now that he can put his leg in the ground and generate some power," the coach said, according to the team's website. "It's exciting and he's excited about it."

Harbaugh also gave an update on top receiver Michael Crabtree, who is trying to return from a torn Achilles tendon. Crabtree likely will be placed on the PUP list, as well.

"He's hit every single goal as far as his timeline," the coach said, according to the team's website. "That's been real exciting and encouraging."