KIRKLAND — The story was so familiar that Mike Holmgren prefaced it by patting his hands in the air and telling reporters to not overreact.
“Everyone calm down here,” the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach said during his Monday afternoon press conference.
Then he delivered the news — for the second year in a row.
Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, who suffered a minor injury in the season opener, had been found to have a small crack in his bone. Last year, it was Alexander’s left foot. Now it’s his left wrist.
But Holmgren said there’s no comparison.
“This is not the same deal,” Holmgren said during his Monday press conference. “It’s not the same thing. It’s not preventing him from playing; it’s not going to prevent him from playing. He’s just going to get used to wearing the cast; that’s the main thing.”
The foot injury sidelined Alexander for seven weeks in 2006, but the wrist injury is not as incapacitating because of its location. Even though X-rays exposed a small crack in the bone of his sprained wrist on Monday, Alexander is going to keep playing.
“(Team doctors) don’t think it’s any more serious than it was” before the X-ray, Holmgren said Monday. “It’s small. What it makes them do is, he’ll wear that cast for a while. He’s not going to take that cast off.
“We will not have a cast watch. He will wear the cast. It takes a few weeks for this (cracked bone) to knit. That’s where it sits.”
Alexander suffered the wrist injury in the season opener, and both the running back and Holmgren have admitted that it has affected his play. While Alexander has put up decent numbers — he ranks third in the NFC with 275 rushing yards and has gone over 100 yards in two of the Seahawks’ three games — the 30-year-old running back has looked tentative at times and has already dropped three passes.
“I don’t think there’s any question that his arm is changing some of the things he does,” Holmgren said on Monday. “… You watch him run, and he’s a little reluctant. Now, he carries the ball and runs with it in his right hand.”
After Sunday’s 24-21 win over Cincinnati, Alexander said: “You play with one hand; it’s just different.”
Alexander has been wearing a small cast on his left wrist during the past two games. He’s also practiced in the temporary cast, which he removes after each session. But Holmgren said that the new cast will be more permanent.
“As long as he has the cast on the wrist,” Holmgren said, “I don’t think he can hurt it any more.”
Alexander was not made available to the media on Monday because many of the players left before the conclusion of Holmgren’s afternoon press conference.