The Seahawks have another star back on the East Coast recovering from surgery.
Jimmy Graham had surgery on the other side of the country Wednesday to repair the patellar tendon he ruptured in his right knee during last weekend’s win over Pittsburgh.
The NFL’s most accomplished tight end since 2011 will likely have his leg braced and straightened and so the tendon can heal into February, according to information and timetables for recovery from the Orthopaedic Trauma Center at the University of California-San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital.
“After the surgery, it typically takes between six and eight weeks for the tendon to heal,” the clinic states. “During that time, the knee is kept straight in a brace for a majority of the time to allow the repair to heal without stretching out. Once the surgeon has determined that the repair is healed, physical therapy begins in order to regain motion of the knee and strength in the quadriceps.”
The Seahawks’ offseason training program usually doesn’t begin in earnest until March. Coach Pete Carroll said again Wednesday Graham will be back for the start of the 2016 season.
Marshawn Lynch was still in Philadelphia on Wednesday, more than a week after he had abdominal surgery there. Carroll said that’s so “he could be under the guidance of their rehab” at the clinic where the lead running back had his surgery. The team has no update on when Lynch may return to playing; the original estimate of perhaps four weeks would mean he could be back for the Dec. 20 home game against Cleveland, the third-to-last game of the regular season.
Graham went on injured reserve Monday. He finished his season with 48 catches, two behind Doug Baldwin for the current team lead, for 605 yards and a career-low two touchdowns.
Seattle traded two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger and a first-round draft choice to New Orleans in March for Graham, then had problems at center until two weeks ago. So I asked Carroll for his assessment of the trade one month short of the first full regular season since the deal.
“Oh, I love him on our team,” the coach said. “I love him. He’s a terrific teammate. He brings character and personality to our team. He’s a dynamic player. I can only see for really cool things to happen in our future.
“That is a great, long-term decision that we made. We are happy to have him. Miss the heck out of them.”
Yes, long-term decision. Graham turned 29 last week. He has two more, non-guaranteed years ($8.9 million in base salary for 2015 and $7.9 million in base pay for ‘16) with no potential “dead” money against the team’s salary cap (no prorated bonuses) on the four-year, $40 million contract he signed with the Saints before the 2014 season.
Luke Willson, who has 12 catches through 11 games as Graham’s backup, is now the starting tight end. The Seahawks signed free-agent Chase Coffman Tuesday and are working him in to see what kind of blocker he may be or become.
RUSSELL WILSON HONORED
The Seahawks’ quarterback is the latest NFC offensive player of the week. That’s for him completing 21 of 30 passes with a career-high five touchdown passes and his regular-season-high 345 yards. His 147.9 rating was the second-highest of his career. It was the 20th time in Wilson's career where he threw multiple touchdowns without an interception in a game, the most by any player in his first four NFL seasons since the 1970 merger.
This is the fifth time Wilson has won the conference’s player of the week, most of any Seahawks QB. He and Peyton Manning are the only passers in the last 25 yaers to win a conference player-of-the-week award in each of their first four seasons.
NOWAK ALREADY BACK
Drew Nowak, who lost his job in October to Patrick Lewis was back on the Seahawks’ practice field. It was one day after the Seahawks waived their starting center for the first five games of this season. He cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad.
Seattle cut wide receiver Douglas McNeill from the practice squad.
LEWIS TALKS MORE, EARNS STARTING CENTER JOB
Lewis keeps getting coaches’ praise for becoming more vocal and thus a better communicator to his line mates this season than he was while starting four games for the injured Unger last season.
I asked line coach Tom Cable how he got Lewis to talk more.
“I put a quarter in him and he just went off,” Cable joked.
As for the recent turnaround for the line and the entire offense that has scored 68 points the last two games while dramatically improving their third-down conversions (15 for 27) and red-zone production (six touchdowns in seven trips), Cable called it “one of the funnest things I've gotten to watch come together in my career.”
Cable’s been saying since August this remade line with new starters in three positions has a chance to be the most athletic one he’s had.