Seahawks Insider Blog

Carroll: Okung has high-ankle sprain, OT Pitts taken off PUP list

Well, we had a pretty newsy presser with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll after practice, so let’s get to it.

Carroll said that left tackle Russell Okung suffered a high-ankle sprain, but remains day-to-day and the team is hopeful he will return in time to play in the regular-season opener against San Francisco on Sept. 12.

But for now, the Seahawks will go with Mansfield Wrotto as Okung’s replacement.

You don’t usually hear high-ankle sprain and “day-to-day” in the same sentence. High-ankles are usually 4-to-8 weeks in terms rehabilitation from the injury.

But it also depends on the severity of the injury. Josh Wilson missed two weeks last year and returned to play in game 5 against Jacksonville, while left tackle Sean Locklear took eight weeks to return from his high-ankle sprain, missing six games in the process.

Ex-Hawks offensive guard Rob Sims also had a high-ankle sprain early in the season and missed two games.

“It’s not the worst one we’ve ever seen,” Carroll said about Okung’s injury. “It’s kind of a moderate one. That’s why we hold out hope that maybe he can get back quickly from it. But those can be difficult. We’ll have to see how it goes for him.”

Carroll also said the team will take offensive lineman Chester Pitts off the active PUP list, and he will begin practice tomorrow at left tackle. Pitts had been working with the training staff with his helmet on, on another field while the rest of the team went through drills.

Carroll said Pitts had been diligent in his rehab from microfracture knee surgery. He does not expect Pitts to play this week. Part of the plan in signing Pitts was his versatility in playing both guard and tackle, Carroll said.

“I don’t think it’s important this week,” Carroll said about Pitts playing against Minnesota. “I think that’s too ambitious right now. I’d like to get him some practice snaps this week if we can before the week’s out. Now that he’s off the PUP he can start working with the football team officially, and that’s important, just he can start hearing the snap count and getting out of the huddle.”

Carroll said Locklear is not an option at left tackle and will stay on the right side. And Carroll did not rule out the possibility of making a move to improve the depth at tackle. Ray Willis also is out with a chronic knee issue and likely will not be available for the first chunk of the regular season.

WR Jones in the fold: Recent pickup Brandon Jones worked with the team today and also stayed behind to catch more passes off the JUGS machine.

“He caught the ball real well for the most part,” Carroll said. “This is a guy who’s done a lot of stuff. He’s been a punt returner in the research that we did. We saw him make a lot of nice plays, a variety of plays. Catching the ball over the middle, and catching the ball in traffic, which is nice.

“His punt returning decision making was a little bold for us. But he did handle the ball well. I don’t particularly like guys trying to go 98 (yards) with them. He tried that a couple times with his punt returns. But I was excited about his versatility as a receiver.”

OG Gibson gets a shot: We also had some changes in depth today. Mike Gibson apparently has moved ahead of Ben Hamilton at left guard. I did see Gibson take some snaps with the first unit during the game on Saturday, but thought it was more related to Ben Hamilton being dinged up. But apparently that’s not the case.

Gibson worked some with the ones today, and Hamilton worked at center with the second unit. Gibson also worked at left guard with the second unit.

“There’s a good chance Mike is going to start this week,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how he does there. It’s a competition. We want to see what Mike can do.”

RB Washington to start: Carroll confirmed that Leon Washington will start this week’s game against Minnesota, as the competition at running back continues.

“We need to let him have a game to know he’s going to be the starter. But the rest of the rotation, I don’t have that nailed for you yet. But all the guys are going to play.”

DE Reed has knee surgery: Defensive end Nick Reed has arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today and will be out a few weeks, Carroll said.

“He was going to keep going, and we had to just about chain him up and take him in there,” Carroll said about Reed. “But he got worked on today and it was a good cleanup. And he should be back in a few weeks.”

With Reed gone, rookie Dexter Davis worked mostly with the defensive ends today. Carroll said improving his team’s pass rush remains a point of emphasis.

“It’s a tryout camp really at rusher and we’re trying to see what combination is best for us,” Carroll said. “And we still don’t know yet.”

Injury update: Carroll said defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer suffered a leg contusion in his upper ankle area during Saturday’s game. Balmer did not practice. Linebacker Leroy Hill was out at practice this week with his helmet but did not practice. But Carroll still says he is still a few weeks out. LB David Hawthorne was a late arrival for practice after having an MRI done. Carroll had not had a chance to talk to Hawthorne before he talked to reporters, so we do not know the extent of the injury. TE Cameron Morrah also did not practice today. TE Chris Baker (hamstring) is almost ready to return to the team and has a chance to make it back for Saturday. S Kevin Ellison also did not practice today.

Boeing Classic primer: Champions Tour pros Scott Simpson and Michael Allen stopped by Seahawks headquarters today to take part in the team’s annual closest to the pin contest. The Boeing Classic Champions Tour event takes place this week at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Olindo Mare, who won the event last year, was the only player to participate. He finished in second, knocking a wedge 6 feet, 2 inches away, while Allen was first at 3 feet, 2 inches and Simpson was third at 8 feet, 2 inches.