I've had a chance to transcribe Matt Hasselbeck's comments from after practice today. He participated in eight plays during 7-on-7 drills (these are conducted with no pass rush). Hasselbeck was in good spirits but also ready to stop spending so much time in the training room. "Things have been really good," he said. "I've improved every day. I think just the ligament is just not healed. People say, 'How are you doing?' I say I'm doing great. They say, 'Well, you're not practicing.' My knee is not doing great, but I'm doing great. ... (The knee) just doesn't function. I have no -- I don't have enough stability in there yet. Like I said, it's a very common injury, much like an ankle sprain would be." More below.
Note: Hasselbeck's comments were transcribed verbatim. The questions might have been worded a little differently given that I reproduced them from memory.
How many plays did you get today?
MH: I was hoping for 16. I got eight. ... I was going to try to two scout-team drills but I'm assuming just because there's a lot of variables in there with 11-on-11 situations, so we stuck to seven-on-seven. ... Health-wise, I felt great. Performance-wise, I've got some work to do to get back out there. It was fun. It was good to be out at practice. I'm getting sick of the training room. …
How is the brace?
MH: It's a lot better than the ones my dad wore when he was playing. I've seen those things. We had them laying around the house. What I'm wearing is lightweight, it moves really good. It's just something I have to wear for a while.
How quickly do you lose your edge not playing?
MH: That first play in particular I had Bobby Engram on a post, probably for a touchdown and my body just couldn't get the ball there in time. I think Babineaux made a play on it. That's good. It's a good first step. I anticipate healing up a lot more each day and hopefully being ready to go real soon.
Are you shooting for next week in terms of playing?
MH: I'm gearing for each day. Sam Ramsden, our trainer, he'll give me a goal for the day. It's hard to get them. I accomplished my goals so far today. Didn't hurt myself. Some days he has pretty lofty goals. One time this rehab he was like alright, we're going to get on a treadmill. I was like, there's no way. But we did it. Running in a swimming pool. It didn't got well but you take baby steps. The next step probably for me will probably be trying to run with some change of direction. We'll see. It's a very common injury. A lot of guys have it. Just have to stick to the protocol.
Do you need a full week of practice to play?
MH: I don't think for the practice sake. Obviously you would prefer that. Like this week, I think the No. 1 priority is making sure the guy is going to play gets reps. And so, Seneca getting the reps is the priority. I'm able to do some work and also heal up and try to get stronger. If reps come with that, that's great. Otherwise, I've played a lot of games, there's not a lot of new plays. I could do it without it.
What was it like watching the KC game?
MH: It was hard, but I'll be honest, the Raider game was much harder, being at home. There's something about sitting in your family room watching it on TV where you don't feel that attached. But when you know the game plan, you're in the locker room when things are hyped up in there and there's a lot of emotion and energy and then you walk out on Qwest Field and there's fireworks and fire going out and introductions, that's when it's really hard to watch. Probably going to be even worse at home against the Rams this week. Could be worse.
What do you think of Wallace's play?
MH: He's done a great job. He's done a great job. That's really allowed me to take the proper approach in my rehab. I think I'm at Day 19 right now of I don't know how many days it should be, but if the quarterback wasn't playing well, then I would feel a lot of pressure to try to somehow figure out a way to get out there. But he's playing so well right now that I think we're able to do the smart thing.
Has Wallace surprised you?
MH: I really thought he would do well. I know he can throw the ball well. That's one thing that people do their homework and typically on a national scene they don't do their homework on Seneca and they know he can run, so they just lump him into this other group of quarterbacks that can run but aren't accurate throwers. That's not him at all. I'm not surprised at all that he's throwing the ball really well. The wild card for everybody was how he was going to handle all the other stuff, just the work load that they put on you at this position on this team. He's done a great job with it. I'm really proud of him. He's worked really hard.
What's the hardest part of your knee situation?
MH: Things have been really good. I've improved every day. I think just the ligament is just not healed. People say, 'How are you doing?' I say I'm doing great. They say, 'Well, you're not practicing.' My knee is not doing great, but I'm doing great. The hardest thing for me I think would be just the long days. I'm here from like 7 to 7 every day with no break, just always on a bike, in the weight room or doing some kind of treatment. It would be easier to practice at this point.
Will you be better off physically upon your return?
MH: Like night and day already. My body-fat percentage is way down. My weight is actually up. My strength is up. I'm on that bike for like 45 minutes every day. I'm on that elliptical for like 10-20 minutes every day. I'm running on the treadmill. Honestly, I just want to practice. I'm tired.
As for the knee?
MH: It just doesn't function. I have no -- I don't have enough stability in there yet. Like I said, it's a very common injury, much like an ankle sprain would be.
How has the team maintained things without you and without Alexander?
MH: There's a lot of people down but I think the other guys have stepped up and held it together. I think our coaching staff has done a good job of holding it together as well. I really credit, up front I credit Tobeck and Chris Gray and Walt for just holding it together, really. Jim Zorn and the quarterback group has done a nice job. Everybody has a part in it, whether it's David Greene or Gibran. Everybody has stepped up into different roles and helped out. Seneca has obviously played great. Hopefully we can keep it up.
And you are 5-3.
MH: First place with a huge game this weekend. If we win this weekend, I'll feel great about it.