RENTON Bad time for the Seahawks to lose their Pro Bowl pass rusher. Worse that it’s perhaps to knee surgery.
Seattle’s premier defensive end and mainstay in offense’s backfields the last three seasons will not play Sunday at New Orleans and for the forseeable future. Instead Bennett will be further evaluated for cartilage damage in his right knee with surgery a “possibility,” coach Pete Carroll said Friday. Bennett has already had an MRI this week that showed the cartilage issue.
“Yeah, Michael is going to be out. We're going to check him on Monday and see if there's something we can do for him,” Carroll said following the Seahawks’ last practice before boarding their flight to Louisiana and Sunday’s test for the defense against Drew Brees and the NFL’s top-ranked passing offense. “His knee bothered him after the game coming out, so we're going to take care of him. We'll look into seeing what's necessary next week."
When I asked if surgery was likely, Carroll said, “there’s a possibility, yeah.”
Such a surgery, even if arthroscopic and relatively less intrusive, would likely keep Bennett out for the Nov. 6 home game against Buffalo and perhaps the Nov. 13 game at Tom Brady and New England, if not beyond.
Four-time Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor will also miss the Saints game, his third game out with a pulled groin. Carroll characterized the injury as “substantial.”
“After the Week 1 in his rehab it didn’t improve,” Carroll said. “He pushed it a little bit, we pushed him a little bit, however you want to look at it and it just didn’t turn the corner for him. So we’re just going to have to wait it out. What it’s turned out to be is a substantial groin pull. More than we had hoped.”
Kelcie McCray will start again for Chancellor.
Russell Wilson is OK and not even listed on the injury report. He’d been limited in practice this week with a pectoral injury on his right, throwing side he got while getting sacked by Arizona’s Chandler Jones last weekend. It was the first time in his five-year career he had been anything short of a full participant in a practice.
Wilson will start for the 81st consecutive time to begin his career on Sunday.
“He got hit in the pec area. It just has been sore,” Carroll said. “We didn’t want to throw through it and ignore it, so we took care of it during the week. He was able to do everything and running around and all that. This is, again ... he continues to improve in his mobility.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes off a little bit more than he has. He’s ready to do that.”
Asked if Wilson threw without limitation in practice at all this week, the coach said: “We kept it under control. He threw throughout the practice. We held him back. He didn’t throw anything full speed that he didn’t need to. There were a few balls during the week. Not many.”
Bennett played 81 snaps last Sunday night in the marathon overtime tie at Arizona. It was the first time in six games this season he didn’t sack or hit the quarterback. On Thursday he acknowledged his knee bothered him in the Cardinals game.
“That was very difficult. I think Brett Favre said it best, when you can play really great when you’re injured, that’s when you become a great player,” Bennett said Thursday, before he didn’t practice for the second consecutive day. “That’s one of the things where you just have to -- of course it was painful -- but you have to be able to put your mind to the side and kind of just keep going in, focus on your teammates and focus on the task at hand and try to win the game.”
The fact the team had him on a podium for a press conference Thursday showed at least some of it did not know he would miss Sunday’s game. The Seahawks don’t let players who are injured and not going to play speak to the media that week.
Bennett has been playing with a sore knee since at least the win over Atlanta Oct. 16. He had a monster game that day, with five hits on quarterback Matt Ryan and constant pressure. He was a big reason Seattle led the Falcons and their No. 1 offense 17-3 into the third quarter.
“It might be related,” Carroll said of Bennett’s current issue and the injury against Atlanta. “It popped up during the game (in Arizona) so we're not sure. Nothing showed after the game after Atlanta. And there was a little something we found in the MRI (this week) so we're going to make sure we know what we're doing and take good care of him so something happened during the week it looks like.
“He came out of the game feeling like there was something going on. He had a little swelling on Monday and Tuesday after the game and so that’s when we took a look at it and wanted to make sure we knew what was going on.”
The Seahawks are going to test Bradley Sowell’s sprained right knee during pregame drills Sunday at the Superdome to see if the starting left tackle can play on the injury he got last weekend late in regulation at Arizona. It’s a wizard-like recovery for Sowell, one that has surprised the team and its coach that first had him listed as out for the Saints game Friday, then amended that after practice to questionable.
“He made great progress this week. There’s a chance he’ll dress for this game,” Carroll said.
If Sowell can’t play, undrafted rookie college basketball player George Fant likely will be the left tackle. He’s last started a football game for the Lincoln Heights Tigers in Cincinnati. That’s the Cincinnati Pee Wee league.
“We have our choices,” Carroll said. “George finished the game last week, and that’s a likely move for us to go with. We’ve got some other choices like I told you (such as backup guard and tackle J’Marcus Webb), and we’re not ruling out Brad at this point
“I don’t know how he did that that fast, but he did, and he looks like he’s ready to compete for it. And he’ll try to show us on game day that he’s ready to go.”
More from the Hits-Just-Keep-on-Coming Department for Seattle: Wide receiver Tyler Lockett has a new injury just as he was getting over his previous one, a knee sprain last month. Carroll said the Pro Bowl kick returner as a rookie last year got hit in the thigh during practice this week. Though he is questionable, Carroll said Lockett will play.
“He finished the week fine. He did well had a really nice day (Friday) so he’s ready to go,” Carroll said.
But Thomas Rawls isn’t coming back next week as the coach had originally hoped. The Seahawks’ lead running back began testing the cracked fibula he got Sept. 18 in the loss to the Rams this week with running. But Carroll on Friday said Rawls is still “a couple weeks away” from playing. That means he is likely to miss not only the games against the Saints and at home Nov. 6 against the Bills but perhaps that biggie at the Patriots on Sunday night Nov. 13. Seattle could use Rawls and an improved running game that night, in particular.
Here is all what Carroll said Friday following the indoor practice here at team headquarters:
(On Bennett) "Yeah, Michael is going to be out. We're going to check him on Monday and see if there's something we can do for him. His knee bothered him after the game coming out so we're going to take care of him. We'll look into seeing what's necessary next week."
(surgery likely) "There's a possibility. Yeah."
(but right now it's just this game) "Right."
(same injury from Atlanta) "It might be related. It popped up during the game so we're not sure. Nothing showed after the game after Atlanta and there was a little something we found in the MRI so we're going to make sure we know what we're doing and take good care of him so something happened during the week it looks like."
(what is it) "He's got a little problem with his knee, little cartilage deal."
(Chancellor) "I was real hopeful going in that this would be the week to turn it and we just didn't quite get it done."
What is Plan B?:
“What’s Plan B? We don’t have a Plan B. We have a Plan A. We’re going to rush the heck out of him the best we can.”
Frank Clark more important:
“Frank will get more snaps. Frank has been doing great. Been looking forward to him getting a big load. He’ll get more. It will call on Cassius to do a little bit more, I think that’s what you were getting at. You’ll see the rest of it when it happens.”
How has Russell looked:
“He threw every day this week. We kept it limited to make sure we didn’t aggravate it. He threw well today so he is ready to go.”
What’s been process for Kam:
“He had a groin pull. After the Week 1 in his rehab it didn’t improve. He pushed it a little bit, we pushed him a little bit, however you want to look at it and it just didn’t turn the corner for him. So we’re just going to have to wait it out. What it’s turned out to be is a substantial groin pull. More than we had hoped.”
On how the week went: “We had a really good week. We did a really good job of adjusting and tailoring to make sure everybody is fresh and ready to go. The group practiced really well again today to finish out the week. We are in good shape and ready.”
On new DE Malliciah Goodman, signed this week: “We are fortunate that we had him coming into this week. He did well in practice and he will dress for the game and will be part of it.”
On what they like about him: “He’s got really good technique length-wise, he’s got really long arms. He’s got a nice, physical way about him. Studied his stuff that he showed us in Atlanta film in the preseason and he looked like he was ready to help us in practice so we are gong to go ahead and go with it and see how he does. … He’s more of an end than a three-technique but he’s played both and he is able to play both of those for us.”
On Tyler Lockett: “He finished the week fine. He did well had a really nice day today so he’s ready to go.”
On where he is at from the knee: “I would think the knee thing is all but gone --- it’s not an issue for him. He got kneed in the thigh on Wednesday’s practice but he responded fine so we thought it would have been a problem but it looks like it’s going to be fine for the game.”
Q: With Bradley Sowell out, who steps in at left tackle?
Carroll: “We’re going to work out Brad on game day. He made great progress this week. There’s a chance he’ll dress for this game. We have our choices. George [Fant] finished the game last week, and that’s a likely move for us to go with. We’ve got some other choices like I told you, and we’re not ruling out Brad at this point. I don’t know how he did that that fast, but he did, and he looks like he’s ready to compete for it. And he’ll try to show us on game day that he’s ready to go.”
Q: What happened with rookie DB DeAndre Elliott?
Carroll: “He’s got an ongoing hamstring thing, and it just got aggravated in the game, and he just wasn’t able to respond this week to get back out, so it’s not a real pull. It’s just like inflammation or something that’s bothering him. He’s had it on and off for a few weeks now, and it just seems like after that game, he was more bothered by it than others, and it’s going to take us a little while to get him back. Tyvis Powell will jump in, do some stuff for him and fill in for him.”
Q: What was Russell Wilson’s injury?
Carroll: “He got hit in the pec area. It just has been sore. We didn’t want to throw through it and ignore it, so we took care of it during the week. He was able to do everything and running around and all that. This is again, he continues to improve in his mobility. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes off a little bit more than he has. He’s ready to do that.”
Did Russell throw without limitation in practice?
We kept it under control. He threw throughout the practice. We held him back. He didn’t throw anything full speed that he didn’t need to. There was a few balls during the week. Not many.
How did the defensive players like Sherman and Wagner who played a lot last week make it through this week?
I think because we took care of them and we adjusted their reps, I think everything worked out fine. They look good, they look like they’re ready to go, everybody’s responding like they feel great and they looked very quick in practice today. This is the day we really wanted to see. They get a good break tomorrow on the trip and away we go on Sunday.
Did Bennett play injured last week?
No, he came out of the game feeling like there was something going on. He had a little swelling on Monday and Tuesday after the game and so that’s when we took a look at it and wanted to make sure we knew what was going on.
HOW DID RAWLS TESTING WITH RUNNING GO THIS WEEK?
"That did begin, yeah. And he is going about it -- talked to him this morning about it -- very aggressively. He's going to work his way back. He's going to make sure that he's in really good shape before we get him going. Just kind of pass the test along the way here. So we're still a couple weeks away. We won't know until he starts to do the workload and all of that. But now we've got to get him in shape, again, and get him right. And we'll take our time doing that so that once he's back he'll hopefully be coming back for good."
TUKUAFU'S BACK FOR THE 29th TIME IN TWO MONTHS...JUST FOR HIS PHYSICALITY?
"Always. And when Luke went down we had to make a couple adjustments there. That opened up a couple spots for Will. We love Will. He's been part of us for a long time. It's good to have him back out here."
JIMMY GRAHAM, IS SUNDAY EXTRA SPECIAL FOR HIM YOU THINK?
"I think it's important for any of our guys going down South. They'll handle it well. They'll have some more family coming in and that kind of stuff, and they've got to do what they need to do to be on focus and be right mentally. So everybody's got to handle it. I talked to Jimmy about it, you know, just to see how worked up he is about it. Sometimes it's a big deal to a guy, sometimes it isn't. He's very centered about and focused on what we're doing. I'm not worried about it, at all."