Crabtree to have surgery March 4

Updated: March 1, 2009, 9:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Michael Crabtree won't perform in front of NFL scouts at his school's pro day later this month, opting to have surgery on a stress fracture in his left foot on March 4.

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An inside look at wide receiver Michael Crabtree from Texas Tech.

Crabtree, the top-rated receiver in this year's draft, will have surgery in Charlotte, N.C., to insert a screw.

"After thorough consideration and discussion with my advisors and doctors, I decided to have the surgery, rather than risk any further injury," Crabtree said in a statement Sunday. "As a competitor, I wanted to run at my pro day, but it became clear that the best thing for me is to have the surgery and be ready to get on the field as soon as possible."

Texas Tech's pro day is scheduled for March 26.

Rehabilitation is expected to take 10 weeks or more.

There already are questions about how his condition might affect his draft status. Before the combine, most projected the record-setting Texas Tech receiver to be among the top five picks.

But he measured 6-foot-1 -- two inches shorter than his listed height at Texas Tech, creating a potential concern for teams that thought he fit the mold of a taller receiver such as Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald.

There could be additional questions about his durability. Crabtree spent part of last season dealing with a right ankle injury and now there are questions about his foot.

With none of the usual statistics to evaluate -- such as the 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle -- scouts could have a difficult time assessing Crabtree against such receivers as Missouri's Jeremy Maclin or Florida's Percy Harvin.

"He has a history, and his history is pretty good," Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said last month at the combine. "I think he'll be OK."

In the past two seasons at Texas Tech, Crabtree has put together a résumé worthy of being the first receiver selected in April.

He won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver each of the past two years, the first repeat winner since the honor was established in 1994. He also earned All-America honors the past two seasons.

As a freshman, Crabtree caught 134 passes for 1,962 yards and 22 TDs -- all national bests and NCAA freshman records. Last season, he caught another 97 passes for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns despite being slowed by the ankle injury.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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