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Saturday, November 6, 2010
Absorbing considerable injury implications

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The 2009 Seattle Seahawks reached their breaking point during a 27-3 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6.

Injuries forced the team to start Kyle Williams at left tackle and Steve Vallos at left guard for the first time. Seattle gave up five sacks, managed no runs longer than five yards and generally could not function on offense. That was also the game when Seattle lost middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, the quarterback of its defense, to a season-ending injury.

The 2010 Seahawks face similar challenges heading into their game Sunday against the New York Giants.

Three-fifths of their projected starting offensive line will not play unless left tackle Russell Okung miraculously recovers from a high-ankle sprain before kickoff (unlikely given that coach Pete Carroll described Okung as extremely doubtful). Guards Max Unger and Ben Hamilton are already on injured reserve.

Seattle will use its fifth starting combination on the line in eight games this season.

The team's preferred backup for Okung, Tyler Polumbus, was limited in practice and listed as questionable for Sunday. Chester Pitts, who played last week for the first time since suffering a catastrophic knee injury in Week 2 last season, becomes the team's third starting left tackle in 2010. Mike Gibson, cut and re-signed since filling in for Hamilton as the Week 1 starter, is back in the lineup at left guard. This game marks his second career start.

The patchwork line will be protecting a quarterback, Charlie Whitehurst, making his first regular-season start.

Top receiver Mike Williams is expected to play despite a knee injury, but an ankle injury has ruled out rookie receiver Golden Tate, the only Seattle wideout with more than one reception last week. The only fullback on the roster, Michael Robinson, is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Half the projected starting defensive line will not play. Another starting defensive lineman, Brandon Mebane, is listed as questionable and has not played since Oct. 3.

I can hear Seahawks strong safety and team sage Lawyer Milloy now if Seattle does defeat the Giants. "No one gave us a chance," he'll say, "except for the men in this room."

And he'll be right.