But boy, talk about a Day 1 buzz-kill.
In part because of the team's young talent, and in part because of Seattle's big offseason acquisitions -- the most costly of which was the addition of Harvin -- the Seahawks opened training camp with big expectations.
The Seahawks have a young star quarterback; they've got one of the NFL's best running backs and the league's best secondary; they bolstered their pass rush in free agency and they traded for a dynamic, big-play threat in Harvin, and all of that should add up to a big season for Seattle ... hey, wait, Harvin's opening camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list?
Again, we don't know much yet, Pete Carroll admitted as much, but if it was possible to have a dark cloud hanging over a postcard-perfect day on the shores of Lake Washington, Harvin's injury provided just that.
Harvin was limited in June's final minicamp by what at the time was called a hip flexor injury, though according to Carroll, Harvin was moving at full speed as recently as a few days ago. While the Seahawks were still on the field, multiple reports were surfacing that Harvin might have a partially torn labrum. Carroll didn't confirm or deny that, but said, the injury is "in that area, yeah."
"We're going to take a really good look at it, get second opinions and all of that kind of stuff to do the right thing," Carroll said. "It's really early in camp, we've got plenty of time to get this thing worked out, so we'll do it very carefully."
Maybe that second opinion will reveal that this is something Harvin can rehab and play through, or maybe he'll need surgery. When asked if surgery was possibly required, Carroll answered, "It may be. We'll find out.
"We're just going to go ahead and do it step by step right now. I know he was working full speed just a few days ago, but we need to take care of him, so we'll take every precaution to do that."
So again, there's no sense in freaking out just yet. Maybe this is just precautionary, but when a team trades its first-round pick to then give a player a six-year, $67 million dollar contract, any injury, and especially one that might require surgery, is cause for concern.
The fact that Harvin, or any other player, is on the PUP list at this point should not be too worrisome by itself, however. Once the season opens, a player on the PUP list has to miss the first six games, but teams put anyone injured at this point as a precaution to leave the regular season PUP designation as an option in case the injury ends up serious. So while in addition to Harvin, the Seahawks put tight end Zach Miller (foot), running back Robert Turbin (foot), cornerback Tharold Simon (foot) and defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) on the PUP list, it is way to soon to assume that any won't be available come September.
"Right now we need to get more information," Carroll said of Harvin. "We don't know enough right now. We'll just wait and see. The good part is it's really early. We've got a long time to get him ready. With the number of guys we have on PUP, we're trying to be very careful and make sure we bring Zach and Clem and all those guys back in good order; not to rush it at this point. We're just trying to be really diligent about the process right now."
The good news for Seahawks is that even if Harvin's injury is serious, their offense, based on what it did in the second half of last season, has the ability be awfully explosive without him. That being said, it's not like the Seahawks gave up their first-round pick and wrote a very substantial check just for fun. Clearly they view Harvin as a game-changer, which is why this injury, even as vague as it is currently, took a bit of wind out of the sails out of the Seahawks optimism.
Yet Harvin injury or not, it was hardly a gloomy day at the VMAC. There was good news on the injury front.
Guard James Carpenter, who has seen his last two seasons cut short by knee injuries, practiced and looked to be moving well on his surgically repaired knee. Also defensive end Cliff Avril, who was held out of most of Seattle's offseason workouts with a foot injury, was a full participant in practice, which given Bruce Irvin's suspension and the uncertainty about Chris Clemons' early season availability, is very important for Seattle's defense. And a crowd of 2,500 created a noticeable buzz.
"To play in front of these fans for practice, that energy they bring for us when guys make awesome catches, or when we get a nice run by Marshawn Lynch, or when the defense breaks up the ball or whatever it is, it's just exciting," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "They cheer every play pretty much, and we have the best fans in the world."
The question now is just how much anxiety those "best fans in the world" will have to deal with between now an a more definitive Harvin diagnosis.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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