Seahawks QB Hasselbeck likely out, so Wallace could start vs. Bears

Published on September 26, 2009 by     

hasselbeckRENTON, Wash. — Matt Hasselbeck granted one little guy his wish Friday. He couldn’t grant all other Seattle Seahawks fans theirs.

Hasselbeck missed a third consecutive practice because of a broken rib, so the Seahawks expect backup Seneca Wallace to start at quarterback in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

“It is extremely unlikely Matt will play,” Seahawks coach Jim Mora said after practice Friday, when the team listed Hasselbeck as doubtful.

Hasselbeck watched as Wallace prepared for the 13th start of his seven-year NFL career. It wasn’t exactly the way Hasselbeck wanted his 34th birthday to go.

Yet while walking off the field, Hasselbeck flashed a thumbs-up sign to the parents of 14-year-old Brandon Jackson. The teen suffered a stroke during open heart surgery as a baby and has a loss of dexterity in his hands and impaired balance. He was standing a few feet away, wearing the No. 8 game jersey of his favorite Seahawks player.

“See you at lunch,” Hasselbeck said to Jackson’s family.

Hasselbeck then headed into the training room for an elliptical workout as Jackson toured the Seahawks’ fancy, spacious locker room, his mouth agape.

Mora also said it’s unlikely that Lofa Tatupu will play. The three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, another of Seattle’s 13 banged-up starters, has a hamstring injury.

Walter Jones’ status will be a game-time decision. The nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle, who had his second knee surgery in nine months in August, fully practiced for the third consecutive day.
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However, Mora sounded as if Brandon Frye, whom the Miami Dolphins released earlier this month, will start in Jones’ place. With starter Sean Locklear out with a high ankle sprain, Frye could be one of just two available tackles on Seattle’s roster.

“He hasn’t played in a long time. He’s coming off a pretty significant injury,” Mora said of Jones. “We have to make the right decision … for not only this game but future games, and for Big Walt himself.”

Hasselbeck fractured a rib last weekend when he was hit by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis on a dive for the goal line. Hasselbeck struggled toward the sideline after the hit and said he was lightheaded because he couldn’t breathe.

An X-ray on Hasselbeck at the stadium was negative, but the Seahawks then took the quarterback to Stanford Medical Center — they feared blood in his urine or internal injuries such as a damaged lung. Hasselbeck underwent an electrocardiogram test and a CT scan.

Hasselbeck missed nine games with a bulging disk in his back in 2008, his worst season statistically since he became the starter in Seattle in 2001. The Seahawks finished 4-12 last season, its worst record in 16 years.

Asked this week if he was extra motivated to return Sunday against the Bears, Hasselbeck said: “Absolutely, especially with the amount of guys that we have banged up. But as a player, that’s not your call. Your job is to just go out there and give them what you got.”

Fullback Justin Griffith is unlikely to play because of a strained knee. Second-year pro Owen Schmitt would replace him.

The Seahawks did receive good injury news. Cornerback Ken Lucas (groin) and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf), listed as questionable, both said they passed post-practice tests on the field with trainers and expect to start Sunday.

Mora also said wide receiver Deion Branch and center Chris Spencer will make their season debuts against Chicago.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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