Seattle Seahawks lose LB Leroy Hill for at least 6 weeks

2-Lofa-Leroy--nfl_large_580_1000The Seahawks got worse news than they expected on starting linebacker Leroy Hill, who left last weekend’s game against St. Louis with a groin injury.

Coach Jim Mora said Wednesday that Hill will be out until at least November, after tests on his groin showed more extensive damage than first believed. Hill has a partially torn muscle, an injury more common to hockey players, and may need surgery.

“It appears he has a pretty significant groin injury,” Mora said. “He is going to be out until after the bye (week).”

That means the man to whom Seattle gave a six-year contract worth a guaranteed $15.5 million – and potentially $38 million total – in the spring will be out at least until Nov. 1 at Dallas.

“That’s a blow,” Mora said. “It’s disappointing for Leroy and certainly disappointing for this team.”

For Hill’s teammates, it’s more than just “disappointing.”

“Oh, man. It’s huge,” safety Deon Grant said. “It’s going to have a big impact on our defense.”

Grant explained he has an unspoken understanding with Hill on pre-snap reads and defensive calls, built over playing together the previous two seasons. Code words or head nods are all the two need to get in the correct position before plays.

“It definitely changes things. Leroy and myself had a chemistry,” Grant said. “He understood when I see certain things what to look for.”

Now, the chemistry that just produced Seattle’s first shutout win since Nov. 12, 2007, against the 49ers, is getting disrupted.

Will Herring, usually a special-teamer, will make his second career start at outside linebacker Sunday at San Francisco. This week, Seattle re-signed recently waived veteran D.D. Lewis to add depth to the position.

“He’s not going to know exactly what those (signals and code words) mean right away,” Grant said. “But Will will step in and do his job.”

The Seahawks got better injury news when nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones participated in position drills. Mora said there is a chance Jones could make his season debut against the 49ers, after having his second knee surgery in eight months a few weeks ago, an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.

Lofa Tatupu, a three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, did not practice because of the hamstring he strained against St. Louis. Mora expects him to start Sunday.

Hill stayed away from all non-mandatory work at Seahawks headquarters in the offseason, a protest to the team initially designating him its franchise player and keeping him from free agency. On Sunday, his legs were planted and spread wide when he was twisted during a play in the first quarter of Seattle’s rout of the Rams.

He walked out to the practice field and around the locker room without much of a limp on Wednesday. Hill also wasn’t too down – while seated in his locker he shimmied to the beat of a song playing throughout the locker room.

“I believe there is a slight tear or some type of pull off the bone of one of the tendons,” Mora said. “It’s similar to a lot of injuries that a lot of hockey players get. Our training staff and doctors have done a tremendous job of researching and talking to everybody they can talk to who has experience with this injury.

“He’ll be a fast healer and he’ll work hard.”

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