Looks like the Seattle Seahawks are cautiously optimistic on the Russell Okung front.
Head coach Pete Carroll said the second-year offensive tackle’s injury is not a severe as first thought, and that the hope is to have him back on the field in a couple weeks.
Okung watched practice in a jersey and shorts from the sidelines this afternoon, with Tyler Polumbus working with the first unit in his spot at left tackle.
“Russell’s not nearly as bad as it looked,” Carroll said. “He’s walking around fine. He’s not in a boot. We’re not talking about how long yet, but it’s nothing like the ones he’s had. And so I don’t know if we can call it mild or not, but he was out walking around. And he’s moving, and doing the toe raises and stuff. So he’s way more active than he was at any time early in the other ankle injuries that he had. So we’re feeling pretty positive that something’s going to come out, and within the next couple weeks we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
So will he be ready to for the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 at San Francisco?
“Yeah, it is conceivable that that could happen,” Carroll said. “And we’ve already been talking that way.”
And does it help that he’s had high-ankle sprains before?
“Maybe so,” Carroll said. “Let’s just see how it goes. He does have the knowledge of what it took to get back. But the time frame we dealt with last time is not the time frame we want to deal with this time. We want to get back a lot quicker. So he’ll know what it’s like to feel when it’s starting to return I’m sure. So hopefully that will help him.”
Injury report: Several players missed practice today, including DT Jay Alford (unknown), Okung (ankle), DT Ryan Sims (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (sprained toe), WR Chris Carter (unknown), CB Roy Lewis (knee), WR Deon Butler (leg), TE Cameron Morrah (toe) and DT Colin Cole (ankle).
Defensive ends Red Bryant (knee) and Chris Clemons (ankle) returned to practice, but Bryant was limited to individual drills. DE Kentwan Balmer (neck stinger) also returned, but was limited to individual drills.
Receiver Mike Williams (toe) also was limited to individual drills, along with Justin Forsett (stiff neck). Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Ben Obomanu (shoulder) were both full go.
Carroll said he’s taking his time with Bryant and Williams because he wants to make sure they can play on Saturday against Minnesota.
“We just want to get him back on the practice field. He got through all the individual stuff and did fine. We’re going to try and not rush any of the guys coming back. Clem got a little bit of work for the first time. We’re just going to happy to get them on the field and get them working again, and so that’s kind of where it is with Red. And we’ll see how he handles the workload, and see if he can take it.
“It’s more about what happens tomorrow after working today.”
QB Competition back on?
Carroll anointed Tarvaris Jackson the starter when training camp start, but he lavished praise on Charlie Whitehurst after practice on Saturday, noting the fact that the backup quarterback is always the most popular choice with fans.
“Backup quarterback is always considered really highly until he has to play,” Carroll said. “And fortunately for Charlie he did some good stuff. He won the division game we needed against the Rams and did some good things. Charlie is having an excellent camp. He benefited from the early work, where he got all of those reps. And really since Tarvaris has come here, he has done nothing but get better.”
Carroll went on to say that Whitehurst is playing with confidence and picking up the offense faster than he thought he would.
“The competition I thought would take a month or something, or six weeks or something, but it’s really come on a little sooner,” Carroll said. “And so it’s great to have a couple guys who can play. And they feel Josh Portis, too. Those guys know that Josh Portis can make some things happen.”
So the next logical question is, has Carroll moved up the timetable on the competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Whitehurst?
“No, not yet,” Carroll said. “I’m sticking to where we said we were from the beginning. Tarvaris has done nothing but good stuff, and he’s only practiced six days now. So let’s give him a couple of weeks to give him his offense and his personnel in mind, and who he’s playing with and all that stuff.”
DE Wilkerson fits in
Free agent pickup defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson was one of the players who stood out defensively for Seattle against San Diego on Thursday.
The 30-year-old finished with a sack, consistently applying pressure when in the game. The Seahawks like Wilkerson’s ability to play both defensive end and defensive tackle in passing situations.
“Jimmy brings experience,” Carroll said. “He brings versatility. He has good history in the scheme and the principles. Of course Todd knows him real well. I think with a bunch of guys coming together, Jimmy’s a real settling force for us. He’s been out there, and he’s played in a lot of football games. And he came off and played really well the first time out.
“He had an injury a little bit ago, and last year recovered and made it back. This year he looks quicker and stronger than he did a year ago even. So we think we got him at a really good time, and we’re very fortunate to have him.