By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — Walter Jones’ season came to an end Wednesday with the decision to place him on the injured reserve list.
The left tackle, who will turn 36 in January, isn’t ready to call it a career, however.
“My next step is to continue to keep working and try to get back,” said Jones. “I still want to play this game, I like the competition, I still want to go out there and compete with the guys. So my number one goal right now is to continue to keep doing what I’ve got to do to get back on the field next year.”
Jones, who had two knee surgeries in an eight-month span, has not played this year. The nine-time Pro Bowler had microfracture surgery on his left knee in December, then had that same knee scoped during training camp after practicing just three times. The hope after that second surgery was that Jones would be able to return after the bye, which was last week.
Jones returned to practice for two weeks in September, but eventually had to stop because he was experiencing too much knee pain. Jones’ attempt at a comeback wasn’t helped any by the fact that he has a kidney condition which prevents him from taking anti-inflammatory medicines.
“It’s tough,” Jones said. “I’ve been working hard trying to get back on the football field, and everybody knows the limitations that I have with what I can take to get back … I was always dealing with the situation where I could never get out there and consistently practice day in and day out where I felt good about the knee.”
Before last year, Jones played 10 straight seasons without missing a game due to injury. He missed the final four games of 2008 with the knee injury and finished the season on injured reserve.
Seahawks coach Jim Mora said it was too early for a career eulogy on Jones, but also admitted he didn’t know if Jones would be back next season.
“I think it’s really too early to indicate one way or another, but we just need to shut him down and then re-evaluate at the start of next year,” Mora said.
In his final game last season, Jones played with the injured knee and was twice beaten for sacks by Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware. The memory of that game kept Jones from pushing himself to come back before he was ready.
“I never did feel comfortable enough to put myself out there on the football field,” he said. “After last year’s game, that was a tough situation for me, so I never did want to go out there feeling uncomfortable about something. So I said I’m not going to step on that football field until I feel comfortable about this knee.”
That won’t happen this year, but Jones isn’t ready to give up on his football career yet.
“I still want to play, and hopefully next year will be a strong year for me, and that’s my approach,” he said.
And for those who wonder why a player who has earned so much money and assured himself a spot in the Hall of Fame would bother trying to come back next season, Jones has a simple answer.
“Because this is what I love,” he said. “It’s a game that I have put so much pride in and wanted to be the best at. So I still want to come out and do my job and play this game.”
Tatupu decision coming soon
Linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who is out with a torn pectoral muscle, was in Alabama Wednesday meeting with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews to determine whether or not surgery is needed for his injury. Tatupu’s injury, which occurred in the loss to Arizona, was originally thought to be season ending, but further tests revealed he may not need surgery for the injury to heal.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has some soreness in his fractured ribs and did not practice. Mora said Hasselbeck should be back at practice today, however, and be fine for Sunday’s game.
“He’s in no jeopardy of missing this game,” Mora said.
Running back Julius Jones was limited in practice having arrived late because of personal reasons.
In more positive injury news, Mora said both Marcus Trufant and Leroy Hill will play Sunday. The most likely scenario is that Trufant won’t start, but play in passing situations, and that Hill will start, but will mostly play on first and second downs.
Defensive end Patrick Kerney was limited in practice, but will play Sunday, Mora said.
Guard Rob Sims, who has missed two games with an ankle sprain, participated fully in practice and should play against the Cowboys. Tackle Sean Locklear may return to practice this week but likely won’t play Sunday.
Rankin added to roster
Running back Louis Rankin was signed from the practice squad to the active roster. Rankin signed with Oakland last year as an undrafted free agent, then came to Seattle’s practice squad last month.
Rankin’s spot on the practice squad was filled by linebacker Anthony Heygood, an undrafted rookie from Purdue.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog