Hasselbeck not completely healed

KIRKLAND — Matt Hasselbeck committed a cardinal sin in the football world on Wednesday.

He vows not to do the same this weekend.

On Wednesday, Hasselbeck admitted pain. The Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback said that his strained oblique muscle is still bothering him.

The former Brett Favre backup added that it won’t keep him from playing Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

“Honestly, it’s something that was painful,” Hasselbeck said after Wednesday afternoon’s practice. “I worked hard last week to try to get better. I did what I could, and I think it helped, so I feel really good going into this week.”

During Mike Holmgren’s noon press conference Wednesday, the Seahawks head coach said that Hasselbeck would limited in that afternoon’s practice. As it turned out, the injury didn’t cost Hasselbeck much practice time at all.

“Of all the (possible) snaps, I didn’t take one snap — or maybe two snaps — today,” he said after Wednesday’s practice, “so I think I was not very limited.”

The oblique is a muscle on the side of the abdomen just below the rib cage. Hasselbeck’s injured oblique is on the right side of his body.

The injury began to affect Hasselbeck in the first half of Seattle’s last game, a 33-6 win over St. Louis on Oct. 21. He got up slowly after taking a shot from Rams defensive lineman Claude Wroten and just wasn’t the same. Although Hasselbeck finished the game, his throws were less crisp after the injury, and there were several occasions when he was seen stretching the muscle to try and loosen it up.

Last week, which was the Seahawks’ bye, Hasselbeck maintained that he would have been ready if Seattle had a Sunday game. On Wednesday, he stuck by that assessment.

“It would have been a little dicey,” he said, “but I definitely would have played.”

Hasselbeck did not participate in Monday’s practice because the training staff wanted to give him two extra days of rest. Tuesday is the players’ weekly day off.

Both Hasselbeck and Holmgren believe that the quarterback will be ready when the Seahawks play at Cleveland Browns Stadium this Sunday.

“I expect, in a couple of days, (the pain) probably should be gone,” Holmgren said. “He has to fight through it.”

Holmgren added that the injury could limit Hasselbeck from doing certain things if it lingers too long.

“It might affect the quarterback more than any other position on the team, if you stop and think about it,” the coach said.

Hasselbeck has missed just nine games since taking over as Seattle’s starter in 2001. A knee injury sidelined him for four games last season, and he underwent surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in January.

Through all the bumps and bruises, Hasselbeck has continued to play. It’s only increased his appreciation for Favre’s streak of 244 consecutive games since taking over as Green Bay’s starter in 1992.

“The way he plays is a little reckless; he’s taking a lot of hits,” Hasselbeck said. “And to be out there each and every game, to start and to play at a high level, it really is amazing. It’s really absurd is what it is.”

While Hasselbeck admitted feeling some pain on Wednesday, his teammates didn’t notice.

“That’s how Matt is. He doesn’t want to be the guy who blames it on an injury or comes out of a game,” offensive lineman Sean Locklear said. “He’s going to play and do his job.

“Matt’s Matt. He looks the same to me.”

Hasselbeck didn’t have time for the pain Wednesday, and he’s pretty certain the injury won’t stop him this weekend, either.

“I felt pretty good” during Wednesday’s practice, he said. “I think I was probably a little bit careful, but I feel pretty good. I think it was a good Wednesday.”

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