The Seattle Seahawks finished last season more battered and bruised than a Chris Brown prom date, losing more games from their starters to injury than any team in the NFL. Midway into the 2009 preseason, it appears we are headed for more of the same.
Coach Jim Mora announced Wednesday that All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, according to Dan O'Neil ofThe Seattle Times. Jones left practice early Monday upon suspicion that something wasn't right with his knee, which he had micro-fracture surgery on in December.
“He just felt weird in his knee after about five or six snaps,” said Mora. “So he went in, and we got an MRI on it to be safe, and they're going to do a 'scope tomorrow morning.” There's no timetable on Jones' return. He missed all of training camp recovering from the micro-fracture surgery and has sat out all but a couple of practices in recent weeks due to back spasms.
The 35-year-old Jones said back in July that he would consider retirement after the season and one wonders if that option will resurface through the mind of the future Hall of Famer as he attempts to rehab from yet another setback on his ailing left knee (Though, if we learned anything recently from Brett Favre and Derrick Mason, NFL retirements are as ironclad as reality TV marriages). Mora didn't seem too concerned over the news, stating, “We don't think it's anything significant, but we just want to make sure.”.
That being said, Jones was already a question mark prior to the announcement of this new surgery and one has to wonder whether it might be time for Mora and general manager Tim Ruskell to start looking through the bargain bin in the event that Jones has seen his last days. Two prominent free agent offensive tackles on the market are former Bengals' first round pick Levi Jones(who has also had his injury issues, as he has been hampered the past three seasons with leg and knee injuries) and former Packer Mark Tauscher(who is also not exactly a beacon of perfect health). In the meantime, right tackle Sean Locklear will be filling in for Jones at left tackle with Ray Willis replacing Locklear on the right side.
Oh, but wait, there's more.
Mora also revealed that Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant, who has yet to practice this season and is currently on the PUP(Physically Unable to Perform) List, will be out indefinitely with a “disk issue” in his back. The 28-year old Trufant, one of the few Seahawks to make it through the whole season last year, suffered the injury back in July. According to Mora, the injury doesn't require surgery but, as with most back injuries, he plans to proceed with caution. “He's making significant progress. He is doing really well. We're going to be very, very careful with backs.” said Mora.
The Seahawks now face a tough roster decision. If Trufant is not activated from the PUP list by final roster cuts on September 5th, he won't be eligible to be activated until after Seattle's sixth game. The Seahawks finished dead last in pass defense last year, even with Trufant, and could be in a world of hurt if forced to go without him for the first six weeks.
The Seahawks could tread water in their first two games without Trufant as they draw the lowly Rams at home and a 49ers team who could be without top pick Michael Crabtree, who remains a holdout. After that, they face the Jay Cutler-led Chicago Bears, reigning MVP Peyton Manning and the Colts in Indy, a much-improved Jaguars team and then finish the six-game stretch against the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals and their high octane offense led by Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. A 2-4 start could be likely, which would put a serious dent in the 'Hawks chances of contending in Mora's first season as head coach. With Trufant out, the pressure will be on the returning Ken Lucas and last year's interception leader Josh Wilson(not to mention former first round pick Kelly Jennings, who was burnt to a crisp last season) to shoulder the load.
Wednesday's news has to give Seahawks fans flashbacks of last year's injury-marred campaign, but there's still plenty of time between now and the September 13 opener. While the idea of Jones and Trufant suiting up against St. Louis in a little under a month seems far-fetched given the circumstances, it's not unlikely. Coach Mora didn't seem too worried over today's double stomach punch, as he will treat both situations with kid gloves from here on out. However, for Seattle fans and players alike, this is a situation that feels a little too familiar.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.