Most Seahawks return to practice grind

KIRKLAND — The Seattle Seahawks returned to practice on Monday afternoon. Most of them, anyway.

Six starters did not take part in the practice, allowing for extended rest time to injuries that already had a week of vacation to heal.

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, right tackle Sean Locklear, defensive end Darryl Tapp, fullback Leonard Weaver, tight end Marcus Pollard and wide receiver Deion Branch were among the nine players who did not practice when the Seahawks returned from their bye week Monday. Coach Mike Holmgren said that the team was just being cautious, adding that only Pollard is likely to miss Wednesday’s practice.

“It wasn’t my call,” Holmgren said of the players who skipped the 60-minute session. “It was our training staff. Actually, I wanted them to practice. I think we’re being a little careful. I’ll go with what they tell me.”

Hasselbeck has been nursing a strained oblique muscle that flared up in the win over St. Louis nine days ago. Seneca Wallace and Charlie Frye took his reps at Monday’s practice, but there doesn’t appear to be any danger of the starter missing Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

“I feel good,” Hasselbeck said. “I didn’t do anything (Monday), but I think I’ll be fine Wednesday.”

Pollard is likely to miss Sunday’s game after undergoing minor surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee. Pollard said that he expects to be back on the practice field as soon as next week.

Tapp also underwent minor surgery — he broke his left hand in the Rams game — but will continue to play with a club protecting the injury. Tapp said he broke the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand, adding that he had six screws put in to replace it.

“I’m just happy it wasn’t worse than it could have been,” Tapp said Monday.

Branch, who has missed the past two games with a sprained foot, could return for Sunday’s game. Fellow starter D.J. Hackett, who has not played in a game since suffering a high ankle sprain in the opener, practiced Monday and should also be available for the game.

Hasselbeck said he’s looking forward to the possibility of having his starting receivers back.

“I think it’s hard when you lose a guy,” he said. “But when you lose both your starters at that position, and your starting tight end, it’s just a committee — all hands on deck. You’ve just got to do the best you can. I think we’ve done a pretty good job with it, though.”

Another starter, running back Shaun Alexander, participated in the practice and appears to be wearing a smaller protective device on his left wrist.

Not going to Disneyland: Hasselbeck’s injury kept him from enjoying a vacation during the bye week. His family — Matt and Sarah Hasselbeck have three young children — planned on going to Disneyland last week but scrapped the vacation because he had to stay in town to get treatment.

“(The oblique injury) kept me here; that’s the big-deal part of it,” the quarterback said. “Coach Holmgren said: ‘Oh, I’m giving everyone the week off — unless you’re hurt.’ There are six of us, so we all had to stay here.”

Holmgren escaped to his offseason home in Arizona, where he said he cleared his mind of all things football.

“I didn’t work very hard this week,” he said. “I read a couple books, went for long walks, rode my motorcycle a little bit. It was nice getting away from it. I think coaches re-charging their batteries is a big thing too.”

Looking for daylight: With a few extra days to try to fix his team’s running game, Holmgren said that he hasn’t done anything dramatic.

“We’re working real hard to be better at that; we need to be,” he said. “You don’t know until you play some games now, but we’re changing a couple of things. We’re looking at some new things. We’re trying to continue to improve on the things we believe in, and hopefully it pays off.”

Quick slants: Coming off the bye week, the Seahawks rank 16th in the NFL in total offense, and 13st in defense. … Despite his modest average of 3.4 yards per carry, Alexander is still on pace to go over 1,000 yards for the season. His 460 rushing yards rank seventh in the NFC.

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