Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Hawks QB Hasselbeck sits again, expected to start Sunday
RENTON, Wash. -- Two more issues for a team that has more than enough already: Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's knee is still sore, and Seneca Wallace's is hurting again.
At least these appear manageable for Sunday's game against Green Bay.
Seattle's top two quarterbacks were in the training room Wednesday afternoon, while third-stringer Charlie Frye threw for both the starting offense and the scout team.
Coach Mike Holmgren said he wasn't sure if Hasselbeck will practice on Thursday or Friday, either. Hasselbeck is still expected to play when Seattle (1-3) hosts the Packers (2-3) in a pivotal game that will reverse one team's slide.
For Holmgren, there is no doubt.
"If Matt didn't practice all week and could play Sunday, I would welcome him with open arms," Holmgren said with a wry smile. "He has to play."
Hasselbeck wanted to practice, and thinks he will on Thursday. He watched from behind the offense wearing a team cap, his practice jersey without pads and a black sleeve over his right leg. He walked somewhat stiffly but did not appear to be limping.
Seattle's indispensable three-time Pro Bowler said on Tuesday he has a bone bruise. He hyperextended his right knee on a hit early in last weekend's 44-6 loss at the New York Giants, but he returned to play deep into the third quarter.
"We're being cautious with it today," Hasselbeck told reporters in a teleconference to Green Bay before Wednesday's practice. "But that wasn't my choice. I wanted to get out there today. It should be fine [Thursday]."
The Seahawks did not permit Hasselbeck to speak after practice because he did not participate.
He remains the lowest-rated passer in the NFC after injuries to six receivers throughout September, which left Billy McMullen as his top target. McMullen was signed off his couch in Richmond, Va. to play his first game in two seasons, a loss to San Francisco in Week 2.
Yet another roster move came on Wednesday. Seattle released receiver Courtney Taylor, who started the season opener, and promoted receiver Jordan Kent from the practice squad. Taylor cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad.
"It's been a very tough thing at that position, but I think we've handled it pretty well," Hasselbeck said. "The numbers don't support that necessarily, but I think we've done a good job of just staying together, not pulling apart."
Wallace, who replaced Hasselbeck to finish last weekend's rout, re-injured his calf during a light workout Wednesday morning. He originally got hurt during pregame warmups before the loss to the 49ers, when he was preparing to be an emergency fill-in at wide receiver.
"His calf got a little touchy, let me put it that way," Holmgren said of Wallace's latest pain.
Wide receiver Deion Branch remains out indefinitely with a bruised heel. Branch was hurt early in the loss at New York, his first game since reconstructive knee surgery eight months ago.
The Seahawks did have one positive injury item, but even that came with a caveat: Cornerback Kelly Jennings was back following a concussion sustained against the Giants. Jennings has lost his starting job to Josh Wilson, but his return is the first of the personnel changes promised earlier this week by Holmgren for his struggling defense.
Jennings, the team's first-round draft choice in 2006, has started 18 of Seattle's last 20 games. Defensive backs coach Jim Mora and safety Deon Grant, the defense's co-captain, said Jennings has been less effective because he is banged up. Before the concussion, he had a broken rib.
Jennings was downcast after practice.
"I feel like I have a job to do on the defense, and right now I don't feel like I'm getting it done," he said. "It's a coaches' decision. And if I was a coach, I would do it the same way."