RENTON — Surgery Tuesday on prized Seattle Seahawks rookie receiver DK Metcalf’s right knee found “minimal” damage, coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.
Because of that, Carroll continued to indicate Metcalf could be available for the start of the regular season Sept. 8 against the Bengals, but he also didn’t proclaim it will happen.
“We are going week to week and see what happens,” Carroll said in his first comments since Sunday’s preseason loss at Minnesota. “There is no indication it is going to be a long return.”
Carroll said the surgery to fix an unspecified issue revealed “minimal findings, so we have high expectations. We really don’t have any concern that he won’t get back soon.”
Metcalf won’t play again in the preseason — the fourth and final preseason game is now just eight days away — and Carroll said one of the reasons for having the surgery now was to recover during the final weeks of the preseason with a hope to be ready for the season opener.
“Excited that we got it done,” Carroll said. “It was the kind of thing we could have put off but we wanted to use the time frame that we had available and hopefully it will work out just right for us.”
Metcalf posted a picture of his leg on Instagram, apparently getting treatment at the VMAC on Wednesday.
Metcalf played the first half of the preseason opener against Denver with one catch for 8 yards on four targets, just missing on two other potential long completions thrown by backup quarterback Geno Smith.
Metcalf practiced last week, but as he continued to struggle with knee pain, the Seahawks opted for surgery and held him out against Minnesota on Sunday.
Metcalf was taken in the second round of the draft last April and has been expected to play a major role in the team’s offense this season as the Seahawks have to remake their receiving corps somewhat in the first year without Doug Baldwin.
But Metcalf has also been regarded as needing some significant work to adjust to the NFL after playing just 21 games in college at Ole Miss. He missed 15 college games due to injuries and the surgery and missing a few weeks of the preseason will mute what had been sky-high expectations for him as the regular season approaches.
Carroll said that Metcalf has “shown us what he can do” but that he also could have used the additional practice heading into the regular season.
“That’s the biggest concern, he just doesn’t get enough snaps in preseason that he could have benefited from,” Carroll said. “He’s shown us that he can play, and he can do the stuff we need him to do. We don’t have any question about that. It’s just the quality of reps and repetitions and stuff like that. We won’t be able to benefit from that.”
Lynch out vs. Chargers; Smith will play
Carroll said backup QB Paxton Lynch, who was evaluated for a concussion following a hard hit to the head by Minnesota’s Holton Hill on Sunday, will be held out against the Chargers.
Lynch did not practice Wednesday. Carroll said Lynch has a sore neck and seemed to indicate there was a chance Lynch could be medically cleared to return but said the team had already decided he will not play.
Instead, Smith will serve as the backup behind Russell Wilson after recovering from surgery to remove a cyst on his knee that held him out against the Vikings.
“Geno needs to play a lot, so it will work out,” Carroll said. “But want to take care of Paxton. He took a nasty hit.”
Seattle also still has J.T. Barrett on the roster to serve as the third QB this week.
With Wilson unlikely to play next Thursday against the Raiders in Seattle, the Seahawks figure to play both Smith and Lynch substantially as they decide their backup for the initial 53-man roster.
Shaquem Griffin, Blair still out
Two other high-profile young players, linebacker Shaquem Griffin and safety Marquise Blair, also missed practice as they continue to deal with injuries, though Carroll said each could be back soon, calling each “day to day.”
Griffin did not make the trip to Minnesota while dealing with a bruised knee suffered in the opener at Denver.
“His knee hasn’t responded yet,” Carroll said. “He had a pretty good day today. Wasn’t quite as good this morning. He’s got a bruised knee that he’s just not quite back from yet.”
Blair left Sunday’s game in the second half, carted off the field after initially being evaluated on the sidelines.
Carroll said Blair, a second-round pick out of Utah, tried to practice Wednesday but “just didn’t quite make it back. He tried and wasn’t able to go. So that’s a day-to-day thing.”
If Blair can’t play Saturday, or is limited, that will open up even more of an opportunity for Lano Hill, whom Carroll said is expected to play for the first time this preseason. Hill returned to practice fully last week after recovering from hip surgery last January, but he was held out against the Vikings with an eye on returning against the Chargers.
Carroll said running backs J.D. McKissic and C.J. Prosise and receiver Amara Darboh, none of whom has played this preseason, are back on the field and will play this week. … Carroll said third-year defensive tackle Nazair Jones is dealing with a knee issue similar to tendinitis and that the team is “addressing that this week” to see what to do next. … Carroll said it remains unclear when first-round pick L.J. Collier will make it back from a high-ankle sprain. Collier has yet to play in the preseason. Carroll said Collier is still not able to put full weight on the ankle and run while changing direction. … Carroll said he hopes veteran left guard Mike Iupati returns soon from a calf issue. But if not, he said the Seahawks are comfortable using Ethan Pocic as the starter when the regular season begins. Pocic has been the primary starter at that spot throughout camp — and in both preseason games — with Iupati having done little after first battling a foot injury and then a calf issue.