Seahawks’ Percy Harvin to return to practice

RENTON — The longer Percy Harvin remained sidelined, the more likely it seemed there would be news prior to Seattle’s first playoff game on the status of the injured Seahawks receiver.

And indeed Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll did give an update on Harvin Monday. Just not the one anyone was expecting.

Harvin, who has not played or practiced since making his lone appearance this season on Nov. 17 against the Vikings, will not be going on injured reserve, ending his season. Instead, he’ll be on the practice field when the team returns to work on Thursday.

“Percy’s going to practice with us when we get back with the intention of playing in this next game,” Carroll said. “We’ll see what happens. That’s the intention, we’ll see how it goes. He’s come to the point where we can go to that, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for him. He wants to contribute and be part of this team, and he’s going to do everything he can do that. So we’ll see what happens.”

Harvin returning to practice hardly guarantees he’ll play when Seattle hosts its first playoff game on Jan. 11, or that he will stay healthy beyond that to make an impact should the Seahawks make a Super Bowl run. But this was still very positive and unexpected news for the Seahawks.

Carroll’s tone on Harvin had changed in the past two weeks, with him talking about the possibility of a roster move, an indication that Harvin would be going on injured reserve. As recently as Monday morning, Carroll said on his weekly radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle that Harvin would likely need the offseason “to get back up to full speed.”

Yet Carroll said the timing of Harvin’s return — just in time for the playoffs — and the change in his tone had nothing to do with any secret plan to shut Harvin down, only to unleash him in the postseason. But rather that Harvin just made enough progress to make one last run at playing this season.

“There was a time when I thought that maybe he wouldn’t have a chance to take the turn that he needed, within the last month or so,” Carroll said. “Because he needs a couple of weeks, now we have a couple of weeks, and we’ll see what happens. Really there’s no game-plan here, there’s nothing behind this. We’ve just got a young guy that’s trying to get back on the team and see if he can help his team win, and we’ll see if it happens. There’s not strategy to this or anything like that. We’re just pulling for him, and if he can contribute that would be great.”

Harvin, who Seattle acquired in an offseason trade that sent three picks to Minnesota — including Seattle’s first-round pick in last April’s draft — was expected to help upgrade Seattle’s offense. But those plans were derailed by a hip injury that surfaced right before the start of training camp. Harvin had surgery to repair a torn hip labrum, then initially appeared to be ahead of schedule when he returned to practice midseason, but experienced swelling that required him to have the hip drained.

He did play the one game against his former team, catching one pass and returning one kickoff, but has not been back on the field since. Maybe, just maybe, that will change soon.

“This guy is a true competitor, and he would do anything to play,” Carroll said. “He has been fighting for some time, months and months to try to position himself to get back here, and to his credit, he has not given up on it. And now he is in a place where he has a chance, so we’ll see what happens. That’s kind of it. If he can help his team, that’s great. We’ve never ever said this changes anything for us. He’s one of the terrific young players on our team and we’re hoping that he can do his part and fit in. We won’t change anything to do that, but it’ll be great for him. We’ll benefit from it too if it works out — we’ll find out, we’ll see what happens.”

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