RENTON, Wash. – The second knee surgery in eight months for Seahawks nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones has removed loose fragments, including scar tissue from the original surgery.
It hasn’t removed doubt whether the man widely viewed as the pre-eminent left tackle of the last decade will be able to play in the first few games, if at all this season.
A team spokesman said Thursday morning that Jones’ procedure earlier in the day “went well.”
The Seahawks will re-evaluate the 35-year-old Jones in a couple of weeks to see if he can play in 2009. His rehabilitation will begin immediately.
Jones had microfracture knee surgery in December. The man against whom all other left tackles are measured practiced just three times in training camp while also hampered by back spasms.
So now the Seahawks begin life without Walter. “It’s kind of hard to imagine the Seahawks without Walter Jones,” understudy Ray Willis said in May, when Jones was rehabilitating in the training room. “He’s a freak of nature.”
Jones has been to eight consecutive Pro Bowls, passing Cortez Kennedy for the most in Seahawks history. He’s been All-Pro four times at the most valued position on the line. Despite multiple shoulder surgeries and taking off practices to soothe more pains than he can remember, last season was the first time he missed games because of injury since his rookie year of 1997.
His 180 starts are second in franchise history to wide receiver Steve Largent, the first Seahawks player elected to the Hall of Fame.
But until Jones returns, usual right tackle Sean Locklear will start for Jones. Willis, a brutish former fourth-round pick, will start at right tackle. Rookie Max Unger, a second-round draft choice and All-Pac-10 center last season at Oregon, will battle third-year reserve Mansfield Wrotto at right guard – where Locklear had been scheduled to get time.
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