SEATTLE – Based on the tone, it was as though K.J. Wright was merely getting treatment for a paper cut. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave the subject so little gravity that it could have floated up into the clouds.
But hold on a second … knee surgery? For the Pro Bowl linebacker? For one of the few remaining staples after a franchise-defining exodus?
Might not be anything much, but it certainly isn’t anything good.
We don’t know how long Wright will be out or whether this is cause for serious concern. Carroll said the 29-year-old was undergoing an arthroscopic procedure Monday because, after Friday’s game vs. Minnesota, K.J. “just felt that maybe something wasn’t quite right.”
There wasn’t a hit or a twist or a tweak that caused discomfort, but there also isn’t a timetable for when Wright might return.
How many weeks might K.J. be out? Carroll was asked.
“Don’t know. I don’t know that.”
There are copious media with honorary doctorates in hyperbole, so I won’t get carried away here. No reason to watch out for frogs and locusts over a preseason scope job.
Tight end Luke Willson had arthroscopic surgery last year and didn’t miss a game for the Seahawks. Then again, offensive lineman Luke Joeckel had a scope and ended up missing a month.
What’s most sobering about this news is how truly tenuous this roster has become. The linebacking corps was supposed to be the one reliable aspect to this overhauled defense.
Now, even that has become suspect.
You have to wonder what middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is thinking these days. A year ago, he had Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas behind him, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in front of him, and Wright to his side. Yet, when he went out on the practice field Monday, none of those guys was there to join him.
This must be what an actor feels like when he leaves an Emmy-winning cast to star in a spinoff. Bobby Wagner is basically “Joey.”
All right, all right … the hyperbole reared its head there for a second. Wright might be fine and have a Pro Bowl-caliber 2018.
But you can’t ignore the fact that he is a 29-year-old who just got hurt without incident. If the Seahawks were certain about his health and capabilities, he would have been offered an extension by now.
It has been quite a few months for anybody who won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks. Avril and Chancellor were forced to call it quits because of neck injuries; Bennett was traded to the Eagles; Sherman was released before signing with the 49ers; Doug Baldwin has missed the preseason with a knee injury; Thomas has been holding out, and now Wright is having his knee looked at.
Then you look at key players who got here after the glory days, such as defensive end Frank Clark, who has missed much of the preseason, and fellow DE Dion Jordan, who’s on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and even more questions about the defense arise.
Sure, cornerback Shaquill Griffin appears ready for his close-up after a productive rookie year and sometimes dazzling preseason. His twin brother, Shaquem, has impressed throughout training camp and will likely start at linebacker if Wright isn’t back for the opener.
But phrases such as “if Wright isn’t back for the opener” weren’t supposed to be uttered this time of year. Not K.J., too. After everything that’s happened with this team, you figured the football gods would at least let him out of the gate before trying to trip him up.
Unfortunately, good fortune seems to be rarer and rarer for the Seahawks these days. Uncertainty has replaced assurance.
Maybe Carroll was subdued when talking about Wright because he knew there wasn’t much to worry about. Or maybe it was because injuries to key players have become far too common.
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