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Jones’ return still up in air

Seahawks tackle out nearly a year

Danny O’Neil Seattle Times

RENTON – Walter Jones has not played since Seattle’s Thanksgiving loss in Dallas last November.

There has been no indication his next game will be in Dallas this November when the Seahawks play at the Cowboys on Sunday.

“Still iffy,” coach Jim Mora said of Jones.

That goes for practicing Wednesday, but it’s also an accurate description of Jones’ status for the rest of the season. Jones has not practiced the previous four weeks in hopes that rest will ease the pain he’s feeling in his surgically repaired left knee.

His status was going to be re-evaluated after the team’s bye. Well, that bye was Sunday, so where do things stand?

“We’ll see where he is Wednesday,” Mora said.

Seattle practiced Monday coming out of its bye, a “bonus” workout, Mora called it. The league does not require teams to submit an injury report until Wednesday so there was no official list of who practiced and how much, but Mora conceded that Jones didn’t do much. Neither did tackle Sean Locklear, who is coming back from an ankle injury.

Mora was asked if the team is reaching a make-or-break point in Jones’ attempt to come back from two surgeries on his left knee in a nine-month span.

“You want to give him the benefit of every doubt and you want to give him a legitimate chance to get out here,” Mora said. “But there is a point where you just have to say, ‘Is it going to happen or isn’t it?’

“We’re not there yet, but certainly we’re closer to it. It’s just a matter of getting a gauge for where Walt feels he is, and we’re in the process of evaluating that.”

Jones injured his knee in Dallas last year before the Seahawks played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Jones played the game, but gave up two sacks to Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware. He underwent microfracture surgery in early December.

Nearly a year later, Jones is still trying to come back, the difficulty of his recovery compounded because he can’t take anti-inflammatory drugs because of a kidney condition diagnosed when he was a rookie.

Jones is 35, a 13-year NFL veteran who has been nominated to nine Pro Bowls whose status is up in the air.

“It would be nice if he could practice for three or four days in a row and then play,” Mora said. “But I’m not sure if that’s going to happen or not. I can tell you this about Walt, he’s diligent in his rehab. He’s doing everything he can possibly do to try and get back on the football field. There’s no question about that.

“It’s a very frustrating process for him as well as all of us. But it’s certainly not for lack of toughness, it’s certainly not for lack of effort and due diligence.”

If Jones is unable to play, Locklear will become left tackle, but he’s also returning from an ankle injury that has kept him out since the Week 2 loss at San Francisco. Locklear’s status is in doubt this week, too. If Locklear is unable to play, Damion McIntosh practiced as the first-team left tackle.

Mora discussed the participation of some players during Monday’s practice, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

“Matt is fine,” Mora said. “Matt had a good week last week. He’s doing good.”

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