RENTON – Russell Wilson put on his usual No. 3 red no-contact practice jersey Thursday and headed out to the field at the VMAC along with the rest of his teammates.
Only, unlike last week, Wilson this time had to go to a side field by himself to get in a workout while the rest of the team practiced together.
That will be Wilson’s fate through at least next week after the team put him on injured reserve last Friday, meaning he has to miss the game Monday against the Saints and then next Sunday against Jacksonville. Being on IR means Wilson cannot practice with the rest of the team, as he could do last week before going on IR.
But Wilson, who suffered a ruptured tendon and a dislocation in his middle right finger Oct. 7 against the Rams, is eligible to return after the team’s bye for a Nov. 14 game at Green Bay.
Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday the Seahawks still have no definitive target date for a return for Wilson.
“We’re not calling it,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to wait and see.”
Asked how realistic it is Wilson could return for the Green Bay game, Carroll said, “I don’t know. We don’t know that. The doctors can’t tell you that. And Russ can’t tell you that.”
But Carroll said, “Russ is making progress. He’s definitely making progress.”
And Wilson’s task for now remains to stay in the best shape he can until he is able to again grip and throw a football and realistically return to action. Hence, the workout on the side field Thursday, and workouts such as the one Sunday before the game at Pittsburgh when Wilson went through what Carroll said were roughly 200 plays by himself, moving up and down the field as if calling an actual game.
“It’s hard on him,” Carroll said. “He wants to be out there so bad. So he’s going to continue to really condition hard and push himself physically and mentally so that he’s not losing anything other than the ability to throw it. And I mean, it’s really admirable the way he’s going about it. He’s doing it exactly the best way you can possibly do it. And we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a good result.”
Until then, Geno Smith will be Seattle’s starting quarterback.
Not that that was in doubt. But Carroll reiterated it during an answer on why the team claimed former Husky quarterback Jacob Eason off waivers Wednesday from the Colts.
Eason for now is the only other quarterback on the active 53-man roster behind Smith with Wilson on IR and Jake Luton and Danny Etling on the practice squad.
But Luton almost will certainly be the backup again this weekend behind Smith with the team able to elevate him off the practice squad before the game Monday with the Saints.
“Just going to see,” Carroll said of claiming Eason. “He’s a very talented player. We thought that a long time ago and here he is available to us. We had a spot on the roster, we could do it, so we jumped on it.
“I happened to watch him a lot in preseason just because I was watching the Colts (Seattle’s opponent to open the regular season) and he was impressive. He wasn’t the top player in the country (coming out of Lake Stevens High School) for no reason. He’s a real talent. So we’ll see what happens. I don’t know how that fits together right now. We’re not going to try to rush him into playing this weekend – Geno’s our quarterback. But we’ll see what happens. It’s just taking a shot at a competitive opportunity and going for it.”
Darrell Taylor hoping to play this week
Carroll said rush end Darrell Taylor, who was carted off the field in the fourth quarter Sunday night with a neck injury, is aiming to play against the Saints.
“He won’t get much action today but he feels really good,” Carroll said of Taylor, who was taken to a hospital in Pittsburgh for observation but after medical tests showed no signs of a significant injury was allowed to fly back to Seattle with the team. “He’s got a stiff neck is what he came out with. So after all of that we went through to protect him and all it’s like he slept bad on his neck and he’s got a stiff neck. He really feels like he’s playing – he doesn’t have any doubts that he can play, so we’ll hold out hope that that’s the case.”
Taylor leads Seattle with four sacks and was listed as limited in practice Thursday.
Collins recovering well as Penny adds depth to RB corps
Carroll said none of the players hurt Sunday suffered significant injuries.
That includes running back Alex Collins, who sat out overtime after taking hard hits to his hip and glute.
Carroll said Collins recovered well enough to go through a walk-through Thursday, “looked OK” and should be able to play Monday.
“Really encouraging in that regard,” Carroll said.
Collins, though, was listed as not taking part in practice Thursday with a groin injury.
Also back to practice Thursday was 2018 first-round draft choice Rashaad Penny, who has missed the past five games with a calf injury. The team will have to activate him off IR to play Monday, but Carroll said that’s the plan.
“He’s gunning to go,” Carroll said. “He’s ready.”
Penny will give Seattle a fourth running back along with Collins, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer with Chris Carson on IR. Carson has to miss at least the next two games though there is no clear ETA on when he might return.
Carroll: Tre Brown will keep playing
Cornerback Sidney Jones also returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after leaving the Steelers game on the first Seahawks’ defensive play in the third quarter with what was initially termed a chest injury but afterward was changed to a concussion.
Carroll said Jones is recovering “a little bit ahead of schedule,” and he was cleared to return to practice Thursday, officially listed as limited.
Jones has started the past three games at left cornerback but was replaced for the second half and overtime Sunday by rookie Tre Brown, who impressed in making three tackles, including one to stop a third-down play on the Steelers’ first possession of overtime.
The game was the first of Brown’s NFL career and he got 40 snaps overall, and, according to Pro Football Reference, he allowed only two completions on five targets for 9 yards.
While Carroll wouldn’t say who will start, he did say that regardless of how well Jones recovers this week that Brown, a fourth-round choice out of Oklahoma in the 2021 draft, will see time against the Saints.
“I feel very comfortable about him playing, so he’s going to play in the game for sure,” Carroll said.
• Guard Damien Lewis, who left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury, was listed as not participating Thursday. Carroll, however, had said before practice Lewis would take part, seeming to indicate his injury is not overly serious.
• DE Alton Robinson played just one snap against the Steelers. But Carroll said that was not due to an injury but rather just how the rotations worked out. Robinson “got out of the rotation just because it happened. He should have played more last week,” Carroll said.
• Also listed as limited Thursday were offensive tackles Brandon Shell (ankle) and Cedric Ogbuehi (biceps).
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