RENTON — Help might be on the way.
The Seattle Seahawks could get quarterback Matt Hasselbeck back as soon as next Sunday, while the team also got good news regarding Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney.
Coach Mike Holmgren said Wednesday that Kerney’s recent shoulder surgery exposed no tear in the labrum, meaning the defensive end will be back at some point this season. The timetable for Kerney’s return is still unknown.
“It’s my understanding that he’s going to stay in Alabama post-surgery for a couple days and then return home probably at the end of the week,” Holmgren said on Wednesday. “When he comes back, that’s up in the air.”
Kerney had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum on his left shoulder. He injured the same shoulder in the Oct. 26 win at San Francisco, and there was initial concern that he may have torn the labrum again.
He underwent a second surgery on Tuesday, at which time the nature of his injury was discovered.
“When they looked at his shoulder, it was the best news we could get,” Holmgren said. “It was not major. They had to clean out a few things in there, apparently, and some things were causing him the pain. The expectation is that we will have him back to play this season.”
Hasselbeck is also expected back at some point this season after missing four consecutive games with a back injury. Holmgren said Wednesday that he expects his starting quarterback to return to the practice field this week and possibly play in the Nov. 16 game against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals.
“Right now, that’s kind of my plan,” Holmgren said. “He has to do some things this week and feel good about it.”
Hasselbeck did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
The Seahawks got two starters back Wednesday, when fullback Leonard Weaver and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu returned to the practice field after missing Sunday’s game.
Tatupu is nursing a sore groin, while Weaver was out with a foot injury.
Weaver actually suffered the injury in the early stages of the win over San Francisco, yet he stayed in the game and scored two long touchdowns.
“It was a division opponent, we needed the win, so it was one of those things where I was like: OK, if I can just make it through this game, we’ll check it out on Monday and go from there,” Weaver said Wednesday. “That’s kind of what happened. On Monday (after the 49ers game), we realized I couldn’t bear to go. So we decided to sit it out.”
The Seahawks also could get wide receiver Deion Branch back in the near future. Branch, who has missed four games due to a bruised heel, worked out for trainers on Wednesday and will be re-evaluated today.
Holmgren sees a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to his team’s injured starters.
“I hope before all this is all said and done, we can have some fun again,” he said of the Seahawks’ 2-6 season. “And some of that is getting some of those guys back. We’ve been waiting and optimistically talking about it.
“We’ll see. I hope we can get it going again.”
Womack sits: The bad news on the injury front came in the form of starting right guard Floyd Womack, who sat out Wednesday’s practice because of a sore foot.
Holmgren said he expects Womack to play against Miami on Sunday. If Womack can’t go, Ray Willis would be the likely starter.
Womack was one of eight players to sit out Wednesday’s practice, joining Hasselbeck, Kerney, Branch, defensive tackle Red Bryant, tight end Will Heller, linebacker David Hawthorne and wide receiver Koren Robinson.
Robinson and Hawthorne should play Sunday.
Bryant is likely to miss several weeks with a high ankle sprain. Holmgren said that Heller will probably be back next week.
Presidential focus: Holmgren said that he was inspired by the speeches of both Barack Obama and John McCain on Tuesday night, adding that the historical significance of the presidential election was enough to tempt him to bring up the subject with his players.
But as of Wednesday, Holmgren had yet to breach that topic.
“Right now,” he said, “I want them to think about how to get a first down. Let’s walk before we can run here, you know? And then we’ll get into the broader topics at another time.”
Actually, the topic was on everyone’s mind Wednesday. Several players openly discussed the significance of having an African-American president, while one — safety Deon Grant — dedicated a song to Obama that was played at full blast throughout the Seahawks’ locker room.
Trading places: While Sunday’s opponent is coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Dolphins have every reason to be optimistic about their chances this weekend.
At 4-4, the Dolphins are in the thick of the AFC East race. The Seahawks, who are coming off five consecutive playoff appearances, have the NFL’s third-worst record at 2-6.
But Miami’s players scoffed at the thought of overlooking any opponent.
“We were 1-15 last year, so we know what it’s like to be sorry as hell,” Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder said. “Now that have a little success, we want to keep it. If anybody gets overconfident after getting the hell beat out of us last year, it would be ridiculous.”