48 should be Fine, the heckler has a high swingarm.
my question to you would be, why do you need a 48 tooth ring on a trail bike ? even the downhill greats that can ride at speeds we mear mortals can only dream of use 36-40 t front rings...
theirs no point dumping the granny, even if you dont use it, unless your desperate to save 30g...
such a large ring can only be mounted in the outer position, so you wont be able to fit a bash guard.
going single up front is no trouble, although you would need to get a chain retention device, and wouldnt really be able to go bigger then 42T because the ring has to be mounted to the centre, with the bashguard/retainer on the outside.