Russell Okung. The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice has what coach Pete Carroll called a “moderate” high sprain of his right ankle, so the team’s starting left tackle will be sidelined indefinitely.
“It’s day to day, I hate to even think week to week,” Carroll said after the team practiced in full pads for 105 minutes. “It is a high ankle sprain, so we’ll see how that works out. It’s not the worst one we’ve ever seen.
“It’s kind of a moderate one, that’s why we hold out hope that maybe he can get back quickly from it. But those can be difficult. We’ll have to see how it goes with him.”
Okung was injured on the Seahawks’ first series in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Qwest Field.
With Okung out, Ray Willis recovering from arthroscopic surgery to repair damaged knee cartilage and Chester Pitts off the physically-unable-to-perform list but not ready to play yet, Mansfield Wrotto will start at left tackle in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Vikings in Minneapolis.
“It’s a depth issue for us right now, obviously, with Ray down too,” Carroll said. “That’s just about as bad as it could hit at that spot.”
Not that this is anything new. The Seahawks used four starters at left tackle last season.
Could Okung be ready for the Sept. 12 season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field?
“I’m going to hold out hope until he can’t,” Carroll said. “We’ll see what happens.”
The “Leo” defensive end. Chris Clemons remains the starter, and has had a solid preseason and training camp. But Nick Reed, the No. 1 backup, is expected to miss a few weeks after having a scope today to take care of a problem in his right knee.
So rookie Dexter Davis was getting a lot of work at that spot. Davis played rush-end at Arizona State, collecting 31 sacks in 50 career starts. But he was moved to outside linebacker in the base defense after being selected in the seventh round of the draft, and has stepped up to rush the passer in the nickel.
“The knee had been bothering him for a while,” Carroll said of Reed, who had been practicing and playing with a brace on the knee. “It was just nagging. So we decided to just fix him up.”
Against Reed’s desire to continue playing. “He was going to keep going,” Carroll said. “We had to just about chain him up to take him in there.”
Defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer is out indefinitely because of the contusion he got on his right ankle against the Titans. His foot was in a boot and he was walking on crutches today.
“He doesn’t have a sprained ankle,” Carroll said, referring to the original diagnosis that was announced after the game. “But he got smacked in an unusual way and he was real sore coming out of the game. But he made marked improvement yesterday.”
Also sitting out, in addition to Okung, Willis, Pitts and Reed, were: tight end Chris Baker, linebacker Leroy Hill, safety Kevin Ellison and linebacker David Hawthorne. Tight end Cameron Morrah was limited to individual drills.
Hill was on the field, but not in pads, for the first time since spraining a knee two weeks ago. Hawthorne had a magnetic resonance imaging test today on an unspecified injury, but Carroll did not know the results of the procedure.
Kicker Olindo Mare was back after being sidelined with a sore calf, and he made each of his four field goal attempts in practice.
ON THE FIELD
It was like training camp today, all over again. Camp broke on Thursday, but there were VIP fans along the sideline, music and crowd noise blared from speakers and the temperature had pushed back into summer.
Oh, and it also was Wednesday, even if the calendar said it was Tuesday.
“Because of the way we structured the week, this is actually Wednesday for us,” Carroll said. “It’s an official week’s preparation. This is the first week where every day will be an official day like in-season.
“So this is a big week for us to show the players what we expect from them in terms of game planning.”
The players will practice Wednesday afternoon, which will be treated like a Thursday during the regular season; and then again on Thursday morning, which will be like an in-season Friday. After a walk-thru Friday morning, the team will fly to Minneapolis for Saturday night’s game – which has a 5 p.m. kickoff on the West Coast.
Logan Payne leads the Vikings with eight receptions in their first two preseason games and also shares the lead in special teams tackles (two). Payne signed with the Seahawks as a free agent after the draft in 2007 and spent that season on the practice squad. He caught two passes in 2008 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season.
The Vikings also have a guy named Steve Hutchinson playing left guard. Punter Chris Kluwe went to camp with the Seahawks in 2005, but was waived and claimed by the Vikings.
YOU DON’T SAY
“If there is one player who would be the MVP of the camp, one guy who came in at a certain level and has risen from Day One, it’s Dexter Davis. He’s been more than we ever could have thought.” – linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr., on the seventh-round pick