I would first check to see if the header spans all the way across. Its possible, but no way to know for sure until you test.
Otherwise, I would recommend using the header/cripplers as suggested.
To help avoid cracks in the ceiling, I would recommend some form of temporary support while you do your demo/ do rough in construction.
You could probably find some ceiling jacks or similar at a tool rental place, you could build your own, or something like these adjustable basement posts might work with some lumber top/bottom to protect/and support the ceiling. I have seen these types at Home Depot for around $45-50. Dont adjust it too high, as you will cause the cracking problems we are trying to avoid.