Seahawks place Trufant on IR

  • By John Boyle Herald writer
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — Marcus Trufant won’t play again this season, having been placed on injured reserve Monday. The bigger question now is whether the cornerback, who is Seattle’s longest-tenured player, will ever play for the Seahawks again.

Trufant, who missed Seattle’s last game against the New York

Giants, has a back injury similar to the one that kept him out of six games in 2009, head coach Pete Carroll said. The initial diagnosis last week was that Trufant had a bruised sacrum — a bone in the lower back — but further evaluation revealed a more serious, season-ending problem.

“We’re just really disappointed for him,” Carroll said. “… I know this season means so much to him and to all of us, but it’s the right thing. We’ve got to take care of him. This is a reoccurring back situation. We didn’t realize it really is what happened before so we’ve got to take care of him and he’s going to be down for quite some time.”

Carroll said the hope is that Trufant will not need surgery — he didn’t in 2009 either — but that the Seahawks are being cautious with this reoccurrence of a serious back injury.

“This is for lifelong care,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to take care of this guy or this could be a problem that could bother him forever. We want to make sure we do it right, so we have to take all the precautions. He’s aware of that. He’s disheartened and all, but he knows it’s the right thing to do.”

Trufant, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2003 out of Washington State, agreed to a restructured contract before the season that cut his pay nearly in half from $5.9 million to $3 million. Trufant is under contract for two more seasons, but considering his injury history and the fact that he is due more than $7 million next year, it seems highly unlikely he will be in Seattle’s future plans unless it is under a new contract. Even so, Carroll said he anticipates Trufant trying to make it back from this injury to take part in training camp next year.

“I would think so,” Carroll said. “I would think he would. We haven’t even talked about that yet. We’re just trying to get through the shock that this is, but I would think that that’s definitely in his mind.”

Trufant was one of just two players remaining from Seattle’s Super Bowl XL team along with linebacker Leroy Hill. He has started 123 games in eight-plus seasons, and ranks fifth in franchise history with 21 interceptions. Trufant made the Pro Bowl in 2007 when he had a career-high seven interceptions.

With Trufant out, Walter Thurmond will take over the starting job at left cornerback. The second-year player out of Oregon started against New York with Trufant out, and prior to that was Seattle’s primary nickel back on passing downs. The loss of Trufant will also mean a bigger role for rookie cornerback Richard Sherman, who can play on the outside if Thurmond continues to be used inside in nickel packages, or for cornerback Roy Lewis, who has experience as a nickel back.

Lewis is one of three players along with receiver Deon Butler and tight end Cameron Morrah who will return to practice Wednesday after sitting out the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list. Once they return to practice, Seattle has three weeks to either activate the PUP players, or place them on injured reserve. Lewis, who had knee surgery late last season, said he is ready to play this weekend if that is what is asked of him.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s the whole mindset. … to be ready to contribute if need be.”

Jackson “Way ahead” of schedule

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson didn’t practice Monday, but he has resumed throwing, Carroll said, and is “Way ahead of any schedule anybody would have thought of at this point.”

Carroll said Jackson, who has a strained pectoral muscle, has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Cleveland. For now, however, Charlie Whitehurst is working with the No. 1 offense until Jackson can return to action.

Other injuries

Tight Zach Miller, who injured his neck against New York “Should be OK” Carroll said, and will return to practice Wednesday. … Left guard Robert Gallery, who has missed the past three games following groin surgery, should also return to practice this week. … Center Max Unger, who was on crutches last week because of a foot injury, should practice, though likely on a limited basis, Carroll said.

Seahawks sign two

The Seahawks signed linebacker Stephen Franklin, a rookie who went undrafted out of Southern Illinois, as well as defensive tackle Jason Shirley. Seattle needed depth at linebacker after trading Aaron Curry last week. Shirley, a fifth-round pick in 2008, has appeared in three games in his career with Cincinnati. Shirley is the older brother of University of Washington defensive end Josh Shirley.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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