Seahawks' Lockette to undergo neck surgery after big hit
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette had surgery to stabilize ligaments in his neck Monday, a day after being taken off the field on a backboard just before halftime of Seattle's game at Dallas.
Lockette underwent surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. The Seahawks issued an update Monday evening that the surgery was a success and that all neurological signs were positive. Lockette is expected to stay in the hospital in Dallas for a few days recovering, but could be up and moving around as soon as Tuesday.
''The emotional part of losing one of our guys and knowing he has to go through major surgery and all of that, it's very personal to us. That's all. I think like (a) family feeling, like when someone in your family gets sick, our guys responded in that way,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said on Monday afternoon. ''They were very focused to continue to play in the game and all that, which we found out by the way they played in the second half. Today they're just concerned for him and his welfare.''
Lockette will miss the rest of the season and his long-term prognosis is still to be determined. His family was with him in Dallas, along with teammates Marshawn Lynch and Russell Okung who remained behind after Sunday's 13-12 Seattle victory.
''It's serious. He's got ligament issue and disk issue is what we know so they're going to take care of that,'' Carroll said.
Lockette posted a message on Twitter on Monday morning thanking fans, teammates and his family for their support and saying: ''Can't wait (to) get back with my teammates in Seattle.''
Lockette was injured when he was running down the field on punt coverage and appeared to be engaged with another Dallas Cowboys player before he turned and was hit by safety Jeff Heath. Lockette immediately slumped to the ground and appeared to be unconscious when trainers and medical officials got there to attend to him.
''Concussion first and then always the neck. They were on that from the first moment,'' Carroll said of the medical response. ''But he needed to wake up first.''
After Lockette was put on a stretcher and loaded onto a motorized cart several minutes later, the receiver's facemask had been removed from his helmet and he could be seen talking while moving both hands. He pointed his right hand toward his Seattle teammates on the sideline, and then thrust his index finger high into the air.
''I don't think I've ever been part of something that scary,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said after the game.
Heath was penalized for a blind-side hit, though replays showed that the contact was with the players facing each other and to the upper body.
''I just felt horrible when I found out how hurt he was,'' said Heath. ''That wasn't my intention at all.''
Carroll said he would leave it up to the league to determine the legality of the hit but he believed it was high.
''It was up high and we refer to the strike zone and that's below the neck and above the knees. The league will figure that out,'' Carroll said.
Lockette has been a special teams standout for the Seahawks since joining the team in 2011. He's also been part of Seattle's rotation of receivers. Lockette had four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown this season.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL