A recap of the day’s activities:
Walter Jones. Who else? It’s not every day that the team puts a nine-time Pro Bowl player on injured reserve. In fact, this is the first time it has ever happened, because Jones is the only nine-time Pro Bowl player in franchise history.
Jones’ valiant effort to return from having microfracture surgery on his left knee in December has ended – at least for this season. The team probably would have made the move earlier if it had been any other player. But Jones, the Seahawks’ starting left tackle from his first game in 1997, deserves the respect the coaches displayed in allowing him extra time to try and get the pain out of surgically repaired knee.
“After much deliberation and evaluation and soul searching between the team, the medical staff and Walter Jones, it has been determined that the best thing to do for Walter, for this football team and for his future is to put him on injured reserve,” coach Jim Mora said in announcing the decision during his regular midweek news conference.
“We’re going to shut him down. We’re going to let him heal up, have whatever procedures our medical staff feels is necessary and then re-evaluated early next year.”
Jones said late this afternoon that he plans to “get right” and play again next season.
Lofa Tatupu, the team’s three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, was in Alabama today to meet with shoulder specialist Dr. James Andrews.
After having his damaged left pectoral examined by Andrews and consulting with the team doctors, it will be determined whether Tatupu will have season-ending surgery.
Left cornerback and weak-side linebacker. Marcus Trufant will play for the first time this season and Leroy Hill for the first time since the season opener when the Seahawks face the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday.
“Let’s talk about something positive here – Trufant and Leroy Hill are back, baby,” Mora said.
But they will be used in contrasting roles. The early plan is that Hill will start and play on first and second downs, while Trufant will not start but play in the nickel defense – at his usual spot on the left side, with Josh Wilson sliding inside to cover the slot receiver. Wilson has been starting in Trufant’s absence.
Trufant has been sidelined with a lower back issue since the week training camp opened in late July. Hill has been out since tearing a groin in the Sept. 13 game against the St. Louis Rams.
“Isn’t it great to have those two guys back?” Mora said. “I’m jacked about that.”
The official report as released by the team:
LB Lofa Tatupu (pectoral)
DID NOT PRACTICE
QB Matt Hasselbeck (rib)
OT Sean Locklear (ankle)
S C.J. Wallace (hamstring)
RB Julius Jones (not injury related)
DE Patrick Kerney (groin)
OG Rob Sims (ankle)
Hasselbeck was given the day off to rest his sore ribs, but is scheduled to practice Thursday and will play against the Cowboys.
“He’s in no jeopardy of missing this game,” Mora said.
Sims returns after missing the past two games, and will be part of the team’s fifth starting combination on the offensive line this season. This one will include Damion McIntosh making his first start of the Seahawks at left tackle.
For the Cowboys, FB Deon Anderson (illness) and CB/PR Allen Rossum (hamstring) did not practice, while three players participated fully – RB Marion Barber (thumb), S Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb) and LB DeMarcus Ware (foot).
Former University of Washington running back Louis Rankin was signed off the practice squad to fill the roster spot that opened when Jones was placed on IR.
“Eventually, he’s a guy who could potentially be a returner for us,” Mora said. “The things that catch your eye about Louis Rankin when you watch him – and I’m going back to his days at the University of Washington – are his speed and his elusiveness; his ability to hit the hole and make people miss.
“We’re always searching for a guy who can bring a trait, and he’s got that trait. So we’ll see where that goes. ”
Linebacker Anthony Heygood was signed to the practice squad to fill the spot vacated by Rankin. Heywood (6-1, 225) played at Purdue and went to training camp with the Carolina Panthers before being released on their final roster cut.
The team will have to make another roster move when Trufant is activated from the physically unable to perform list.
YOU DON’T SAY
“A lot of these things are concerns, but you can’t concern yourself with them because you can’t control them.” – Mora