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Handicapped ‘Hawks

Posted By Dave Leonardis On Sep 24 2009 @ 1:54 am In Seattle Seahawks | No Comments

After an unfortunate week that has seen every notable Seahawk short of John Friesz appear on the injury report, here's some updates on Seattle's walking wounded:

“Hey, I'll take 45 of you — doesn't matter which 45 it is — and we'll go play on Sunday. And we'll be fine.”

That was the message head coach Jim Mora passed on to his players this week. He might not have much of a choice but to suit up for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears a wee bit shorthanded. 12 starters are listed on this week's injury report, most of them were injured in last Sunday's painful loss to San Francisco. Here's a look at the statuses of some of those key guys:

QB Matt Hasselbeck (broken rib): Mora hasn't officially ruled his Pro Bowl quarterback as out against Chicago, holding out hope that Hasselbeck's fractured rib will heal in time for doctors to clear him. “I'll defer to the doctors and Matt. If the doctors look at me and say 'Jim, Matt's good to go' and Matt looks me in the eye and says 'I'm going', then you know what? Matt Hasselbeck is going, because we're trying to win.” Mora said Wednesday when he addressed the team's litany of injuries. Backup Seneca Wallace has practiced all week with the first team and all signs point to him getting his 13th career start, barring a miraculous recovery by Hasselbeck in the next four days. After all, while this Sunday's game at Qwest Field is vital if the Seahawks want to remain in the division hunt, it might be too risky in the long-term to put a badly injured quarterback out there with a third-string left tackle who was just signed a couple weeks ago protecting his blind side against a very good Bears defense. Right now, there's a chance we'll see #8 get the start, but I would call it unlikely.

Offensive Tackle Sean Locklear (high ankle sprain): He's definitely out this Sunday, the only questions that remain are when is he coming back, and who's taking his spot? The answer to the former appears to be that Locklear, the team's starting right tackle who has filled in on the left side in Walter Jones' absence, will miss up to a month. As for who's replacing Locklear, that will be between Jones and the aforementioned third-string tackle, Brandon Frye, who was acquired off waivers from Miami nearly two weeks ago. Mora isn't ready to declare Jones the starter this week, but given the importance of this game and the fact that Jones nearly played last week against the Niners, I would bet on him getting the call over Frye.

Cornerback Josh Wilson (high ankle sprain):He's out as well this week, which doesn't bode well for a Seattle secondary that's already without Marcus Trufant for the first 6 games and facing a quarterback who likes to stretch the field in Jay Cutler. Former first round pick Kelly Jennings, who was last seen getting torched routinely last season when he was the starter, will reclaim his old starting spot in Wilson's absence.
Former Ram Travis Fisher could be starting alongside Jennings as current starer Ken Lucas has missed practice with a groin injury.

Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (hamstring):The team is very cautious about risking any damage to Tatupu's sore hamstring, which Tatupu injured in the home opener against the Rams. Tatupu only lasted a couple series against San Francisco and there has been no reason to be optimistic that Tatupu will start this week considering the concern the medical staff over his hammy. Undrafted free agent and training camp superstar David Hawthorne would get the start if Tatupu can't go. Again, like Hasselbeck, Tatupu isn't ruled out against Chicago, but I'd be surprised if he gets the green light.

Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf):He's feeling better after sitting out the Niners game, but he also hasn't practiced. There's a good chance he misses his second consecutive game this week, which would be a huge blow to the Seahawks' run defense if both Mebane and Tatupu are reduced to sideline patrol. Craig Terrell would get the start if Mebane is a scratch.

Wide receiver Deion Branch (hamstring, among other things):It wouldn't be an injury report without a Deion Branch update, but the good news for once is that Branch is expected to make his 2009 debut this week after resting a bad hamstring as well as recovering from multiple knee surgeries. Seattle will need to lean on Branch a bit this week as top receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh has been nursing a bad back. Houshmanzadeh is likely to start and has made it a point that he's looking to stick it to the Bears after they low-balled him during free agency. However, the team has gotten more use out of Housh's mouth than his hands, as the former Bengal trails tight end John Carlson and fellow wideout Nate Burleson in receptions and receiving yards so far this season.

Offensive linemen Walter Jones and Charles Spencer(knee and quad, respectively):Both men were listed as questionable last week and could be making their 2009 debuts this week. Spencer has been practicing and sharing reps with journeyman Steve Vallos, who has filled in nicely in Spencer's absence. Jones, too, has practiced this week and has been splitting time with Brandon Frye. Both would appear to be game-time decisions as the resurfacing of the injury bug has understandably made team doctors a bit more careful about rushing key starters back.

For the final word on who's in and who's out for Sunday's game, check back for Friday's pre-game report as things will become more clearer as grow closer to kickoff.

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