- Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is expected to start Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
- Wilson injured the middle finger on his throwing hand on October 7 and was initially expected to miss six to eight weeks.
- Wilson’s streak of 149 consecutive starts ended with the injury.
Russell Wilson suffered a ruptured tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand on October 7 and was expected to miss six to eight weeks. He never planned to miss that much action. The double tough Wilson had started 149 consecutive games before the injury so the fact that he’s beat the projected timeline for a return to play isn’t surprising. Wilson returned to practice today and is on track to start Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Wilson said that he never bought in to the timeline for his rehab from the injury and that his goal was to cut it in half:
“I wasn’t going to take 6 to 8. That wasn’t in my mind.”
In his comments to the media about Wilson’s return to practice, head coach Pete Carroll said that his quarterback wasn’t limited in his participation. That strongly suggests he’s going to play this weekend even if it hasn’t ‘officially’ been confirmed yet. Wilson said that’s despite the earlier than anticipated return he’s very close to being 100%:
“I feel great. I feel really close. I’m not 100% yet, but I’m pretty dang close. I would say 90th percentile if not higher. I feel great. I’ve got great conviction about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it. My mindset is better than ever. I’m ready to roll and ready to go.”
“I’ve been blessed to be able to play all the games I’ve been able to play and all the things I’ve been able to do so far in this league. I feel like it’s a new beginning, it’s a new start and I feel like it’s time to get going again all over again.”
“Hand feels great, it feels strong… I’m ready. I’m ready to play and ready to help us win, do whatever it takes.”
Wilson’s quick return doesn’t reflect the severity of his injury. Wilson injured the finger in the third quarter of the Seahawks’ October 7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He was following through on a pass attempt to Tyler Lockett when his finger made contact with the hand of Rams’ defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Wilson returned for one series before being replaced by backup Geno Smith. He suffered a ruptured tendon on his middle finger, a dislocation and two fractures. Dr. Steve Shin performed surgery on it the following day, calling it the most severe injury he’d ever seen to the throwing hand of a NFL quarterback. The procedure included the insertion of a metal pin. Wilson described the quick but thorough decision making process on how he wanted to deal with the injury:
“I got four or five different opinions and everything else and I knew that Dr. Shin was the best at it and that’s the place I wanted to go to. He had a whole plan and he told me the plan. I said, ‘Alright, let’s do it,’ prayed about it and then the next thing I know, I woke up out of it and I felt like I had a whole new finger. My finger was straight. It wasn’t crooked and going left and right anymore.”
Wilson said that at the time of the injury he thought his finger was dislocated. He tried to pop it back into place on the sideline but when that didn’t happen he returned to the game and tried to play through the pain. He said that his confidence in backup Geno Smith factored in his decision to leave after one play:
“I played through some stuff before. I was always ready to … But also, I have great confidence in Geno and what he could too and he’s been such a great teammate, such a great leader in such a cool way. I believe in him. I think he’s a great player. I just knew that, you know what, it’s more important for us to have the best chance right now. So that was the thought process.”
The Seahawks would lose to the Rams and drop Smith’s first to starts against Pittsburgh and New Orleans. They were competitive in each–they had the opportunity to tie or take the lead late in all three losses. In their last game on October 31, they had no trouble beating hapless Jacksonville heading into their bye week. Seattle head coach Carroll said that Wilson was throwing within 24 hours of the time the pin came out on November 1. Wilson said even when he couldn’t throw he kept working:
“We never stopped doing the work. I was always lifting. I was always moving. I was always running. I was always preparing my mind. I was visualizing every rep, every defender, where people would be and everything else.”
Much of the focus was on the mental component of playing quarterback in the NFL–an area in which Wilson has always been extremely adept. ESPN described the nature of the mental work Wilson did while injured:
That mental work included Wilson running mock 2-minute drives before the games he missed — pretending to call and change plays at the line of scrimmage, rolling out and throwing without a ball as he worked his way up and down the field.
Wilson commented on this component of his rehab saying that it’s just part of the process of excelling at his job:
“That was a big part for me because I’ve always believed that if you want to be great at anything, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter what’s surrounding you, you have to do what it takes to be great. I think a lot of people choose not to because it’s the easy way out, it’s the easy way around it. It may not be the cool thing or it may not be this and that. But when you love winning and the process of it all, you’ll do whatever it takes. I love the process.”
Wilson said that he initially threw with a glove on his right hand following the removal of the pin but quickly decided he didn’t need one. He did say he might end up wearing one on Sunday in Green Bay if cold temperatures necessitate it.
The Seahawks are 3-5 on the year but given the ridiculous level of parity in the NFC they’re still in the postseason hunt. Only 6 of the 16 teams in the conference have a record above .500. For Sunday’s game, Seattle is a +3 point road underdog at BetOnline.ag with the total set at 49.5.