Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN radio in Seattle Monday morning star tight end Jimmy Graham is “devastated” over his season-ending knee injury but that the team expects him back for the start of the 2016 season.
“Oh, yeah,” Carroll said when asked if Graham will be playing by the start of next season.
He noted the recovery time from a patellar-tendon repair, while long, is not as long as that from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that often go nine to 12 months.
“He’s brokenhearted. He wants to play. He wants to play with his teammates,” Carroll said on his weekly appearance on the morning “Brock and Salk” radio show. “It’s really the first time he’s faced a major injury like this, and it’s devastating.”
With 13:36 left in Sunday’s 39-30 win over Pittsburgh, Graham’s right leg caught awkwardly in the end-zone turf amid double coverage on an incomplete pass from Russell Wilson. Carroll and a team doctor immediately rushed to Graham, and the day’s only hush fell over an otherwise raucous CenturyLink Field-record crowd of 69,055. Wilson joined Carroll and the doctor on a knee over the fallen tight end. Graham hopped gamely onto a motorized cart with an air cast over the majority of his right leg.
Carroll told 710 AM he spent extra time following Sunday’s game essentially comforting the 29-year-old Graham, who has two years remaining on the contract Seattle inherited in March’s trade from New Orleans.
“I’m just sick about him missing out ... breaks my heart that he won’t get to play,” Carroll said.
LYNCH RETURNING FROM EAST COAST
Carroll said Marshawn Lynch remained in Philadelphia through the week “for rehab purposes” following abdominal surgery there Wednesday. The lead running back will come “right back into rehab” at team facilities,” the coach told 710 AM.
OFFENSIVE LINE’S IMPROVEMENT
Carroll gushed about his offensive line that’s been so widely ridiculed this season. Seattle has gone from allowing an NFL-high 31 sacks through seven games to allowing six over the last four games. The Seahawks are averaging 402.5 yards of offense. Their 68 points in the last two games are their most since last Nov. 2 and 9 against Oakland and the New York Giants.
"The protection was really solid … Yesterday, the more the game went on the more comfortable he became,” Carroll said on the radio about Wilson.
“It’s changed for a month now. Let’s go. You guys can keep talking about the past. But it’s changed; we’re better. We’ve given up, what, six sacks in four games now? We gave up a million in the first ones.
"We’re way better there. The result of that is cleaner play. … That’s shown enough that I think we’ve made a big jump now."