RENTON – The injuries are mounting for the Seattle Seahawks.
The latest to get hurt is guard Robert Gallery. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday that the 31-year-old veteran has a groin injury that required surgery, putting him on the shelf for four to six weeks.
Gallery already had labored through a sprained right knee, missing the first game of the season at San Francisco, but practiced fully all week before playing at Pittsburgh.
However, Gallery never showed the explosive drive blocking ability Seattle hoped for when he was signed to a three-year, $15 million deal in the offseason, one of four free agents expected to jump start Seattle’s offense.
Gallery received a $1 million signing bonus, and only his $4 million base salary for this season is guaranteed.
Gallery started 91 games for Oakland, helping the Raiders finish second in the league in rushing in 2010, averaging 156 yards a contest.
He had his share of injury problems before arriving in Seattle, missing four games last season with a hamstring problem, and 10 games in 2009 because of a broken left leg and a bad back. But Gallery was considered an upgrade over what Seattle had at left guard, with four different players starting at that position in 2010.
Carroll said the groin injury had been giving Gallery trouble since training camp and finally got to the point where he needed to get it fixed.
Carroll doesn’t think the injury will end Gallery’s season, and doesn’t expect to place him on the injured reserve list.
“He’s an important guy to us,” Carroll said. “We’ve loved having him. He’s a fantastic character on your team, personality and all. The experience he’s been through, the knowledge that he has, helps other guys so you miss that. There’s no replacing that. It was good to have him out (with us) this week and working with us but it is what it is and Paul (McQuistan) and Breno (Giacomini) and those guys have got to step up and be ready to play for us.”
Carroll said he plans on keeping rookie James Carpenter at right tackle because he’s playing well there – Carpenter played well against Pittsburgh, Carroll said – so McQuistan will go to left guard after Carpenter started the opening game there in place of Gallery.
It’s familiar duty for McQuistan, a sixth-year pro out of Weber State, who backed up Gallery with the Raiders, starting six games in 2006 and six in 2007 for Oakland.
With McQuistan likely to start against Arizona on Sunday, the Seahawks will have their third different starting offensive line combination in as many weeks.
McQuistan continues the carousel at left guard. Since losing Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota in free agency in 2006, Seattle has used 13 different players at left guard.
Receiver Sidney Rice is expected to practice in anticipation of playing on Sunday against Arizona, Carroll said.
Carroll confirmed after Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh that Rice had a torn labrum.
“We can’t count on him until he can make it through the week,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see how that works out. But he’s determined. And what he’s gone through at this point has been pretty rigorous to demonstrate that he’s OK to at least go to this next level.”
Carroll said that Rice’s injury is similar to what receiver Ben Obomanu played with last season. Obomanu separated his shoulder in the NFC wild-card playoff game against New Orleans, but came back in the second half and played. Obomanu also played a week later against Chicago.
But Obomanu needed off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum, with the team slowly working him back onto the field during training camp.
“He went out and they put his shoulder back in and he came back in the game and finished the season with the labrum tear that was repaired at the end of the season,” Carroll said about Obomanu. “He was right up against it getting prepared to enter into camp and he was a couple weeks late in camp really working full speed. So that’s a similar situation that may arise, we don’t know.”
OKUNG SEES YELLOW
In his second season, tackle Russell Okung has struggled with penalties.
He was flagged twice for holding and once for a false start in Seattle’s first game against San Francisco. And he had two more false start penalties against Pittsburgh.
Okung had three penalties in 10 games as a rookie last year. Okung still hasn’t fully healed from a left ankle sprain that he suffered in the exhibition season, so that could be affecting his play.
“He’s a very young player,” Carroll said. “He hasn’t even had a whole season yet. Not that we allow that to happen because he’s young, but it’s going to happen some. He’s played consistently and he’s getting better and more confident.
“He’s just going to continue to grow. He’s got all the tools. The flinch at the line of scrimmage – that’s something that can happen now and then. I really count on him really taking a hold of this spot and really being a secure guy for a long time.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437