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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham builds strength on basketball court

Jimmy Graham continues to make good progress recovering from a knee injury but is still iffy for Seattle’s regular-season opener. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
Jimmy Graham continues to make good progress recovering from a knee injury but is still iffy for Seattle’s regular-season opener. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
By Gregg Bell Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – As you and the Seahawks wait to see him play in a game again, Jimmy Graham’s best moments of knee recovery are happening far behind the scenes.

In pregame warmups before an exhibition game.

And on a basketball court.

You didn’t see it Thursday – unless you were one of the few thousand ticket-holders that beat the Puget Sound’s grotesque, 5 p.m. traffic and were inside CenturyLink Field an hour or so before kickoff.

Well before Thursday night’s television broadcast began of the Seahawks’ third preseason game against Dallas, the star tight end took his best steps yet toward playing in this regular season.

Graham looked fast, fluid and comfortable running routes for Russell Wilson with the first-team offense in full pads during pregame warmups. While Graham is not yet ready to play in a game – it remains iffy he’ll be ready when the season begins Sept. 11 against Miami – Thursday’s warmups gave encouraging signs four days short of nine months after he ruptured the patellar tendon in his knee.

“He looked great in pregame. He was flying. He was really fired up,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He ran a ton of sprints before that workout, with the throwing and the catching and then he took all those plays, and then he took the pregame warmup.”

Before Graham took his next, incremental step in his eventual return, he took a few in an old, familiar setting.

Carroll and the Seahawks recently had the former University of Miami forward, dunker, shot-blocker and rebounder making V-cuts and pivots and reacting to the ball on a basketball court.

“The idea was to give him a chance to have to make moves that are not controlled,” Carroll said. “You have controlled workouts where you have bags and you’re changing direction and all those kind of things. I thought if he would just feel that, it would show him that he’s ready to go to the next level. We just had some fun doing it.”

First cuts due by Tuesday

The Seahawks and every other NFL team have to be down from 90 to 75 players on their rosters by 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Some of those 15 cuts seem obvious.

Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga looks destined for the injured-reserve list if Seattle wants to keep the veteran it signed this offseason. If not, he could get waived injured. He’s been out for all but one day since training camp began July 30 with a calf injury.

Kasen Williams’ ongoing hamstring injury is putting the former Washington Husky’s chances of being on the 53-man regular-season roster in jeopardy.

Several undrafted rookies have impressed enough at times this month they appear likely to not only survive Tuesday’s initial cuts but have a shot at making the team.

Tanner McEvoy helped himself again Thursday. Lined up at tight end, he drifted wide open between Dallas’ zones to make a 43-yard catch after Russell Wilson rolled left on a bootleg in the third quarter.

But Carroll said after Thursday’s game McEvoy “tweaked” his groin. This late in the preseason, any injuries for players who have impressed sometimes lead to IR designations,

Troymaine Pope keeps impressing coaches with his decisive running late in preseason games.

The final roster cuts down to 53 players for the start of the regular season are due by Saturday.

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