The Seattle Seahawks’ injury woes continued to mount Sunday, when coach Jim Mora announced after the game that linebacker Lofa Tatupu suffered a torn pectoral muscle.
Tatupu will have surgery to repair the injury this week and miss the rest of the season.
“He’s a huge leader on this football team,” Mora said about Tatupu after the Seahawks’ 27-3 loss to Arizona. “Fortunately we’ve got some guys who can step in and play, and we have good leadership on this football team.
“There are some veterans that will accept the challenge, and work hard to get us out of this spot that we’re in. But, we will certainly miss Lofa. He’ll be around, he’ll be a part of this thing. We’ll just miss him on the field on Sundays.”
Tatupu suffered the injury during the last defensive series of the first half. The 26-year-old linebacker suffered a hamstring injury earlier this season that caused him to miss the Chicago game.
Before this season, Tatupu had missed only one game because off injury in his NFL career. The fifth-year pro played most of 2008 with a cast on a broken right thumb that required surgery in the offseason.
Backup linebacker David Hawthorne played impressively in Tatupu’s absence, finishing with 16 tackles and an interception against the Bears.
Tatupu had led the team in tackles for four consecutive years, the first player in Seahawks history to accomplish that feat.
With the defensive captain down, it will be up to the team’s other defensive captain, safety Deon Grant, to take over some of the leadership responsibilities.
“We’ll be all right,” Grant said. “But we’re going to miss Lofa big time because he’s more than just a leader on this defense. He brings a lot of passion and everything.But Hawthorne has to step up, and I have to step up my role as a leader.”
Wide receiver Nate Burleson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the 2008 season, knows what Tatupu is going through. But Burleson also understands injuries are part of the game.
Seattle already has five starters sitting on the sidelines in offensive tackles Sean Locklear and Walter Jones, offensive guard Rob Sims, linebacker Leroy Hill and cornerback Marcus Trufant.
Seattle is hopeful that most of those players will return to the lineup after the team’s bye week for the Nov. 1 game at Dallas.
“Lofa plays at a high level,” Burleson said. “I never think he’s going to get injured because he’s so tough. But I’m not going to be surprised by a guy getting injured. It really is part of the game.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437