Hawks’ Okung might be OK in time for opener

Russell Okung could be back in action sooner than anticipated for the Seattle Seahawks.

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The second-year offensive tackle limped off the field with a left ankle injury after the fifth play of the game against San Diego on Thursday. After being evaluated by trainers, Okung had to be carted to the locker room.

But at practice Saturday, Okung watched from the sideline in a jersey and shorts, with no protective boot. Okung simulated pass drops while watching teammates go through individual work.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he’s hopeful that Okung will heal in time for the team’s regular-season opener at San Francisco on Sept. 11.

With Okung out, Tyler Polumbus spent time at left tackle with the first unit.

“Russell’s not nearly as bad as it looked,” Carroll said. “He’s walking around fine. He’s not in a boot. We’re not talking about how long yet, but it’s nothing like the ones he’s had.

“And so I don’t know if we can call it mild or not, but he was out walking around. And he’s moving, and doing the toe raises and stuff. So he’s way more active than he was at any time early in the other ankle injuries that he had. We’re feeling pretty positive that something’s going to come out, and within the next couple weeks we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

The setback is Okung’s third ankle injury in a year. The second-year player out of Oklahoma State suffered a high ankle sprain on his right leg in the second exhibition game last August, causing him to miss the rest of the exhibition schedule and the first three games of the regular season.

Okung then suffered a high ankle sprain on his left leg three weeks later, Oct. 24 against Arizona, and missed three more games.

But Carroll said going through that experience could help Okung in this rehabilitation.

“Maybe so,” Carroll said. “Let’s just see how it goes. He does have the knowledge of what it took to get back. But the time frame we dealt with last time is not the time frame we want to deal with this time. We want to get back a lot quicker. So he’ll know what it’s like to feel when it’s starting to return, I’m sure. So hopefully that will help him.”