Friday, December 2, 2011
Russell Okung out for rest of season
RENTON, Wash. -- Already hampered by two major season-ending knee injuries on the offensive line, the Seahawks lost left tackle Russell Okung for the rest of the season on a play Seattle coach Pete Carroll called "out of line" on Friday.
Okung suffered a torn pectoral muscle late in Seattle's 31-14 win over Philadelphia on Thursday night. Okung's injury cast a cloud over a night highlighted by Marshawn Lynch's 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns, the second-best performance of his career.
Okung got thrown by Philadelphia defensive end Trent Cole away from the play inside the final 2 minutes and after the whistle had blown. Okung underwent tests Friday to determine the severity of the injury. During his news conference, Carroll called it "significant" and the Seahawks announced the results of the injury later Friday. Okung is likely headed for surgery and a long rehabilitation.
When asked if it was a dirty play Okung was hurt on, Carroll said it was "a bad play."
"He got grabbed under the arm and thrown down to the ground. It had nothing to do with the play. It wasn't a late hit," Carroll said. "It might look like he was trying to disengage and that might be what they say and all, but it was really late and it was really out of line unfortunately."
Okung is the third Seahawks starting lineman to go down if he is done for the year. The Seahawks (5-7) lost the entire right side of their line last month when rookies John Moffitt and James Carpenter went down with knee injuries that required surgery. Moffitt was hurt in Seattle's win over Baltimore, while Carpenter was lost when he tore his ACL during practice just a few days later.
Now comes Okung's latest injury after he was slowed during his rookie season a year ago by continued ankle problems, but had stayed healthy and played well for most of his second season.
The injury came on the first play after the 2-minute warning with Seattle holding its big lead. Okung and Cole engaged on a running play to Leon Washington that went to the right side. On the television broadcast, Okung appears to let up as the whistle blows, then gets flung over Cole's hip and to the ground.
Okung had to be restrained and pulled away from Cole after the game ended. He was holding his arm gingerly in the locker room after the game.
"Russell has been very good. He really has. His game is so much better this year than it was last year at any time," Carroll said.
Seattle does get a few days to figure out how to approach the possible loss of Okung. Carroll gave his team Friday through Monday off, with the Seahawks returning to practice Tuesday in preparation for their Monday night game on Dec. 12 at home against St. Louis.
One question will be how Seattle keeps Lynch on such a roll. Thursday night was the fourth time in the last five games Lynch has topped 100 yards, the finest stretch of his career for a back that never had consecutive 100-yard games until early November when he did it against Dallas and Baltimore.
He's now got touchdowns in eight consecutive games as well, including one on Thursday night.
It came on Seattle's second possession and on first-and-goal from the Philadelphia 15 following a penalty. Lynch took a handoff off right tackle and got clogged up right at the line of scrimmage. But no Eagles defenders got a firm grasp on Lynch, who kept his legs churning. And with the help of a cleanup block from Okung, Lynch was able to escape from the pile and streak for the touchdown.
He later added a 40-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter that gave Seattle a 14-0 lead and showed Lynch is more than just a bruiser as he made a quick cut at the line of scrimmage and outran everyone to the corner.
Because of Lynch's performances recently, the talk is already turning to Lynch's future and whether the Seahawks want him back. Lynch will be a free agent.
"We've already made a big statement and have gotten a great core of guys that we want to go with and we want to grow these guys up together," Carroll said. "Marshawn is certainly one of those guys that we want to have with us."