“No time to sleep” is more than just a hashtag for Russell Wilson.
It’s apparently his way of life.
Oh, the Seahawks’ franchise quarterback does sleep. Some.
“On a normal week, probably five hours (per night). I don’t need much more,” Wilson said Thursday, three days — and, for him, short nights — before the Seahawks (3-1) play a home showdown against fellow NFC division-leader Atlanta (4-1).
For the last month, the QB known for his Twitter hashtag #NoTime2Sleep has been getting up in the middle of night to continue his rehabilitation on his sprained left knee and sprained right ankle. He’s flown his personal physical therapist up from California and had his personal masseuse with him. They have instituted a program that includes Wilson getting up, usually around 3 or 4 a.m., for more ice and perhaps one-legged squats, to hasten the healing of his sprained medial collateral knee ligament and what is believed to be a high-ankle sprain.
“I set my alarm and all that and make sure I have everything ready to go and it’s just right there,” he said. “Constantly icing, constantly stretching. Doing all that stuff.”
Wilson’s been doing all that stuff since the night of Sept. 11 when he sprained his ankle in the opening-week win over Miami. He even did it last week during Seattle’s bye.
“The purpose is to stay on top of it, have the same approach,” he said. “Keep continuously getting better, continuously getting stronger. I feel great, though.”
The night-owl rehab and minimal sleep are working.
Wilson has yet to miss a practice, let alone a game, since his two sprains.
Working more from the pocket than he ever has, Wilson has 1,064 passing yards through four games. That’s 159 more than he had at this point last season — when he became the first Seahawk to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.
But he isn’t running as he had been before last month. That, in turn, has limited the Seahawks’ entire running game.
With lead back Thomas Rawls out into next month with a cracked fibula and Christine Michael still somewhat unproven, the Seahawks’ running game will be in its usual form again only when Wilson is healthier.
How close is Wilson to being fully healthy, after not practicing or playing in a game since he threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns Oct. 2 to beat the New York Jets?
“I don’t know,” he said, coyly. “I guess you’ll see on Sunday. We’ll have to find out.”
Wilson should still be short of his normal self on Sunday. Sprained MCLs like the one he got Sept. 25 against San Francisco usually take longer than a couple weeks to heal. The same applies to a high-ankle sprain: rookie tight end Nick Vannett is trying to make his regular-season debut this weekend on a grade 3 high-ankle sprain he suffered nearly two months ago.
So the Seahawks are likely to go to the air more often against the Falcons. Even in the storms expected this weekend in Western Washington.
Forecasters say at Sunday’s 1:25 p.m. kickoff there is an 80-percent chance of rain with winds expected to be 16 to 20 mph.
“Wind’s always a factor, for sure,” Wilson said. “Rain and stuff like that is not as much as a factor — unless it’s just hailing like I think it was against the Saints in the (Jan. 11, 2014) playoff game. That was pretty bad.
“I don’t think rain is really a factor. It’s more just the winds,” Wilson said. “You always have to know how to play that. We’ll see what it is on Sunday.”
On Tuesday, Wilson continued his weekly off-day tradition of visiting Seattle Children’s hospital. This week, he brought teammate Tyler Lockett with him, plus two Falcons players: wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and running back Devonta Freeman.
Wilson led Lockett and the two Falcons through the hospital’s wards, and they visited sick children. They put on protective outerwear and masks and visited patients under precautions for infection.
“It was just a special day. It’s bigger than just the game,” Wilson said of the visit. “The reality is, the game of life is way more important. Just being able to share those moments with those kids and to be able to put a smile on their face. The kids were lit up when they saw us out there in their rooms and stuff. Same thing with the Falcons guys.
“It was just a special day.”
As a man who barely sleeps, Wilson says the weekly trips to the hospital energize him.
“First of all … I’m used to hospitals. I understand what it means for family members, loved ones, to be in hospitals,” he said. “My (late) dad was in there constantly, when I was in college especially. There were different moments when he was in there, when I was in high school and middle school, because of (his) diabetes and stuff. My mom was also an ER nurse for a long time when I was growing up …”
And according to staffers at Seattle Children’s, Wilson’s visits have one of the most powerful effects of anything that happens there on a daily basis.
“I think ultimately, God is giving me a great opportunity to give back and to share moments with people,” Wilson said. “The idea that everything is not perfect in life. But if we can find a way to share love and to give back and to hopefully give a smile to somebody, that’s the hope.
“Every time I walk into a room I’m praying for a miracle.”
CLARK MISSES ANOTHER PRACTICE
Frank Clark missed his second consecutive practice with a hamstring injury. The defensive end suffered the injury in practice on Monday, the Seahawks’ return day from last week’s bye. The injury leaves Clark iffy to play against the pass-crazy Falcons, the league’s highest-scoring team.
Seattle has been using Clark inside with Pro Bowl end Michael Bennett as tackles in nickel defenses on passing downs this season, with Cliff Avril and Cassius Marsh outside off each edge. Clark has three sacks in four games.
If he can’t play Sunday, Quinton Jefferson would be a pass-rush option. But the rookie draft pick is out for at least another week with a broken bone in his left wrist, coach Pete Carroll has said.
If rookie second-round pick Jarran Reed can prove he’s full go for Sunday, he could get passing-down snaps. The defensive tackle was impressive in the preseason and early in the regular season last month, getting into the opposing backfield in running and passing situations. He practiced fully on Thursday for the first time since the hip injury that caused him to miss the win over the New York Jets on Oct. 2.
EXTRA POINT: The Seahawks were out in Thursday’s rain at team headquarters, practicing for what forecasters say will be a rainy, windy game Sunday. “It was wet,” defensive coordinator Kris Richard deadpanned. “I’d say if there’s one thing that you get out of practicing in the rain, is that it’s wet.” It will be Seattle’s first bad-weather game since the playoff win last January in Minnesota’s inhumane deep freeze.