By SCOTT M. JOHNSON
KIRKLAND – If the Seattle Seahawks are going to knock of the AFC West-leading Oakland Raiders this weekend, they’ll have to do it without their top pass rusher.
Defensive end Lamar Smith, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 1999, is expected to miss the final two games of the season because of a dislocated shoulder he suffered against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
“He might have played his last game this year,” coach Mike Holmgren said Monday.
King has a team-high six sacks in his first season as a starter.
Also injured in the game were defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and Jay Bellamy, who will be further evaluated this week. Kennedy tore a ligament in his thumb and may have to play with a cast, while Bellamy is expected to undergo tests on an injured back. Holmgren said Bellamy could miss some practice time this week.
Veteran Matt LaBounty is expected to start in King’s place, although rookie John Hilliard will also see playing time.
Also expected to miss the game is quarterback Brock Huard, who has been out since Nov. 26 with a bruised kidney.
“We’re testing him every day,” Holmgren said. “And until those tests come in pretty negative – his blood cells are completely out of there – they’re not going to let him play.”
The contest this Saturday has something to do with the Raiders’ position atop the AFC West.
Because all available tickets have been sold, the game will be televised locally.
The Seahawks’ first five home games were blacked out locally, but this marks the second consecutive contest at Husky Stadium that will be televised.
Holmgren was most upset about an intentional grounding call on Jon Kitna in the first quarter. Kitna threw the ball toward Ricky Watters’ feet on a screen pass, and officials threw a penalty flag. Holmgren said a recent change in the language regarding that rule meant that Kitna was in fact in the wrong.
“By the letter of the law, (the official) was right,” Holmgren said, referring to the fact that quarterbacks are now being discouraged from intentionally throwing the ball into the ground. “But I don’t agree with it.”
On another call, Broncos running back Mike Anderson was awarded a touchdown even though his knee appeared to have touched the ground before the ball crossed the end zone line. Television replays were inconclusive, so the call on the field eventually stood up.
“By the instant replay standards, if you don’t have really strong evidence to the contrary, that call has to stand,” Holmgren said. “So I actually, looking at it, I figured (the official did) the correct thing there.”
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