RENTON — Percy Harvin’s return to practice Thursday was big news. The fact that he was on the field again Friday was even more significant.
Harvin, who prior to this week had not practiced since making his one appearance this season in the Seahawks’ Nov. 17 win over Minnesota, has progressed well enough not just to return to the practice field, but to do so on consecutive days, which is encouraging news for Seattle’s chances of getting the wide receiver back when it hosts its first playoff game Jan. 11.
“He did fine,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said following Friday’s practice. “He really did fine. He participated in everything today with the exception of the 2-minute drill. He looked (good) and I think he felt pretty good about it. He’s still got a little governor on what he’s doing here, which is the right thing to do, and we’ll come back next week and get after it. We’ll just go one-day at a time, and I expect that he’s going to make some progress. Now that’s barring a setback, but he’s very encouraged and we’re excited for him.”
Harvin, the Seahawks’ big offseason acquisition who cost them three draft picks, including their 2013 first-rounder, and a lot of money ($25.5 million guaranteed), was expected to add an explosive element to Seattle’s offense. Instead, he opened the season on the physically unable to perform list following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.
Harvin did make it back for one game, catching one pass for 17 yards and returning a kickoff 58 yards in a win over his former team, but following that game he was sidelined once again with soreness in the hip. As recently as Monday morning, the belief was that Harvin could end up on injured reserve, officially ending a disappointing season, but later that day Carroll made the surprise announcement that Harvin would practice this week.
Asked if Harvin did more than they were anticipating over the past two days, Carroll said, “No, he stayed right on schedule today. He was fine about it. Had he had any issues, we would have pulled him out, but that wasn’t necessary.”
And while Harvin’s ability to practice this week is a good sign for his chances of playing next week, it’s hardly a sure thing. There have been enough ups and downs in his recovery that it is impossible to assume anything, and Carroll cautioned that a decision on the receiver’s availability may not be made until the end of next week.
“We will not rush to the decision at anytime,” Carroll said. “We’ll just take all the information in and continue to encourage him and be encouraged by his efforts and see what happens. He definitely knows what we’re doing and understands the offense and can execute. He looked really sharp today for not being out there. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s because of the background with Bev (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Harvin in Minnesota) and he’s done a good job of staying with the system and keeping up all along.”
Linebacker K.J. Wright, who is recovering from foot surgery following an injury suffered last month, will not play in the Seahawks’ next game, but has a shot at the NFC Championship game should Seattle advance.
“KJ will not make it back for this game, but the chances of him making it back the next week, if we’re fortunate enough to be playing, is really promising,” Carroll said. “That’s unbelievable that he would be able to do that so soon, but he’s making such progress they think that.”
Rookie tight end Luke Willson, who suffered what looked at the time to be a very serious injury in Seattle’s Week 17 victory, was running Friday and has a shot to get back for next week’s game. Willson, who was initially feared to have a broken leg, has a high-ankle sprain, which is still a serious injury, but said he thinks he can make it back without missing a game.
“Luke looks really good,” Carroll said. “He ran today, he was running and weaving and doing some good things. He’s had an ankle sprain just like this before, he’s managed it before. He came out the very next day and said ‘I’m going to play.’ He’s really encouraged about it; we won’t know until Wednesday or Thursday next week. We’ll see how he’s doing.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.