Wednesday, January 5, 2011
NFC West: Injury situations that matter
By Mike Sando
Seattle: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is practicing enough to suggest he'll be available to start Saturday. The Seahawks could have started Hasselbeck against St. Louis, but the team determined Hasselbeck might not move well enough to avoid trouble. Coach Pete Carroll has not declared whether Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst will start against the Saints. I expect Hasselbeck to start, but Carroll has shown he can pull a surprise.
Everyone but right tackle Sean Locklear participated in practice Wednesday. The team excused Locklear from practice to tend to an undisclosed family matter. The Seahawks lack depth on their line. Seattle placed guard Chester Pitts on injured reserve. That means former starting right guard Stacy Andrews could be active for the first time since Week 14. Andrews is better suited at tackle. He's been working at right tackle with Locklear unavailable. Left tackle Russell Okung continues to fight through ankle problems. He wore down against the Rams and could be vulnerable as the game progresses. Pitts' replacement, Tyler Polumbus, was also limping at times Sunday. Receiver Brandon Stokley could return from his latest concussion. He has reportedly suffered more than 10.
New Orleans: The Saints lost running backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory for the season this week, affecting their ground game. Ivory had 99 yards against Seattle in Week 11. Former Seahawk Julius Jones figures to play a more prominent role. Reggie Bush did not play against Seattle in the previous matchup. He'll play Saturday.
Linebacker Danny Clark (hamstring), tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle), defensive tackle Tony Hargrove (knee) and safety Malcolm Jenkins (knee) did not practice Wednesday. Tight ends Jeremy Shockey (groin) and David Thomas (knee) were limited. Defensive end Alex Brown (shoulder), receiver Marques Colston (knee) and linebacker Anthony Waters (ankle) participated fully. Colston missed Week 17. Having him back gives Drew Brees one of his favorite weapons. Colston caught eight passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle during the regular season.
For more on the Saints' injury situation, check out Pat Yasinskas' report.