The Seahawks’ receiving corps took another hit Sunday, when Deon Butler broke his right leg during the loss to the 49ers and needed surgery to repair the damage.
One step forward. One step back.
That has been the story of the Seahawks’ season, as well as the situation with a wide receiver group that has been ravaged by injuries.
Deon Butler is the latest casualty, with the most significant injury. The second-year receiver had surgery Sunday night in the Bay Area to place a rod in his right leg that was broken in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks’ 40-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park.
“Everything went really well and it should be able to have a really good recovery,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday during his day-after Q&A session. “We’re still thinking about him. He’ll be back in a couple of days. He’ll stay down there until he can get a good recovery started.”
Carroll labeled the injury “a very serious break,” but said it was not a compound fracture.
“It was able to go right back together nicely,” he said. “It’s a real intricate surgery, of course, but they were really pleased with the results of it.”
Butler will be placed on injured reserve and miss the team’s final three games, starting with this week’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons at Qwest Field.
But leading receiver Mike Williams and starting flanker Ben Obomanu are scheduled to return this week after sitting out the game against the 49ers. Williams has a sprained left ankle, which is near the strain in his foot that forced him to miss the Week 12 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Obomanu got a severe laceration on his right hand while making a catch against the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago.
“Both those guys will practice this week,” Carroll said. “Ben we’ll take care of as long as we can, as far as not hitting his hand. But he’ll be out running around.
“Mike is going to start up Wednesday and be ready to go.”
Butler, of course, will not. He was injured while catching a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:55 left in the game. After being down on the field in the end zone, he was taken to the locker room on a cart and later transported to the hospital.
Fellow wide receiver Ruvell Martin was the first to reach his fallen teammate.
“You could see there was something sticking out of his leg, so it didn’t look so good,” Martin said after the game. “It was one of those things when you see one of your teammates in a situation and you can’t do anything. He just looked at me and goes, ‘My leg.’ All I could do was just give him my hand and say a prayer for him and try and comfort him as much as I could.”
Running back/returner Leon Washington had a similar injury and surgery last season, while playing for the New York Jets.
Offered running back Justin Forsett, “It was tough, man. We were definitely praying for Deon. He’s a heck of a player. He handled it like a pro. He was calm and we just went to encourage him. He is a big part of this team and it is sad to see him go down.”
Butler, a third-round draft choice last year, started seven games this season. He ranks second on the team with 36 receptions and shares the lead with four touchdown catches.
The team also should get slot receiver Brandon Stokley back this week. He left Sunday’s game in the third quarter with tightness in one of his hamstrings.
“I think he’s OK,” Carroll said. “We’re going to be quiet on him the first couple days of the week. He didn’t injure himself. He felt a little tightness and that was it.”
But injuries at the receiver position have been costly for the Seahawks, and played into their inconsistent efforts.
“Most significantly when we were really counting on Ben coming along, and he was doing a good job. And Mike was finding some momentum. Now both those guys go down,” Carroll said.
“Those guys were becoming significant roles on this football team, and we’re exciting about it. We’ll see what the difference is. If they both get back this week, it might be interesting to see if they can have an effect on us a little bit and help the QB and the throwing game and all that.”