With Playoffs Looming, Injuries Piling Up for Seahawks
For NFL players and teams, the final few months of the NFL season can be a war of attrition as injuries and wear-and-tear begin to take a toll.
For the Seahawks, it’s been an especially difficult season battling the inevitable injury bug. Entering Week 14, the team already had 13 players on injured reserve, including starting center Justin Britt and tight end Will Dissly.
Making matters worse, cornerback Neiko Thorpe underwent sports hernia surgery last week and running back Rashaad Penny tore his left ACL on Sunday night, which means two more players are guaranteed to join Seattle’s lengthy injured reserve list.
It’s the nature of the beast when it comes to the grueling business of professional football. By this stage of the season, everyone is nursing bumps and bruises of some way, shape, or form.
“For a lot of guys and for our teams, these seasons are like a heavyweight championship match,” coach Pete Carroll said on Monday. “And each game is like another round. You try to win as many rounds as you can and if you lose a round, you try not to get knocked out.”
Admitting he’ll need to monitor the injury for the rest of the season, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been battling through a sports hernia-related issue and suited up in Seattle’s last two games. Wanting to contribute to the team’s playoff push, he is holding off potential surgery for now.
From here on out, Carroll acknowledged Clowney isn’t close to 100 percent and will have to gut it out during the practice week to ensure he’s available on game day.
“He’s hurting. He’s playing really tough under the circumstances. He’s got some core issues he’s working with, but he’s making it through it, so he’s toughing it out and doing the rehab and all that stuff.”
Clowney isn’t the only veteran edge rusher trying to fight his way through injury, as Ziggy Ansah didn’t play on Sunday due to a neck injury. Coming off his two best games as a Seahawk, his absence could be felt against the Rams and Carroll thinks he’s got a good chance to go this upcoming week.
The linebacker group has also been ravaged by injuries over the past couple of weeks. Veteran Mychal Kendricks didn’t play in Los Angeles due to a hamstring injury and was replaced in the lineup by rookie Cody Barton, who now needs an MRI done on an injured knee of his own.
As Carroll has preached for years, when one Seahawk goes down, another one must step up. Other contenders such as the 49ers have injury issues of their own and players missing games can’t be used as an excuse in the midst of playoff race.
With winnable games coming up against Carolina and Arizona and all of the team’s goals still out in front of them, Carroll expects to see Clowney, Barton, and others continue to fighting through pain and help Seattle finish off the season on a strong note going into the playoffs.
“We’ve got a few rounds left in this season to go ahead and finish. We gotta come out slugging and going for it and making good choices and playing smart. But it’s all there for us and it’s exciting as can be for us and our fans.”