Victim of a controversial maneuver after a fourth-quarter play was over, left tackle Russell Okung suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Thursday’s win over Philadelphia and becomes the Seahawks‘ third starting offensive lineman lost for the season in the last four weeks.
After receiving results of an MRI exam, the club didn’t describe the extent of the injury, but espn.com reported that the tear will require surgery and six months of rehabilitation.
Earlier in the day at a press briefing, coach Pete Carroll foreshadowed the bad news by saying the third-year player had “extensive damage.”
Carroll was clearly irked with the play by Eagles defensive end Trent Cole who, late in the Seahawks’31-14 win over Philadelphia, pulled down Okung’s right arm and hip-tossed him to the ground after the whistle had blown. Okung had let up on the play.
After the game, Okung went after Cole, but was restrained by a teammate. In the locker room, Okung’s immobility was sufficient that his uniform had to be cut off him.
“He got thrown down after the whistle really blatantly,” Carroll said. “It was really late, and really out of line,” Carroll said. “It was a bad play.”
Carroll said he expects the NFL office “will take care of it — they can’t miss it,” meaning a review and probable fine for Trent.
The Seahawks have four games left, but don’t play until the Monday night game Dec. 12. Okung’s absence may require the Seahawks to pursue temporary help because Carroll admitted “we don’t know” who would play left tackle, although guard Paul McQuistan shifted over Thursday night.
The Seahawks lost to injury two other linemen for the season, tackle James Carpenter and guard John Moffitt, as well as tight end John Carlson. Despite the absences, the Seahawks have rushed for 100 yards in five consecutive games for the first time since 2005.
“It’s what we’ve talked about about since I got here,” Carroll said. “I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled.”
Of the loss of Okung, a No. 1 draft choice, Carroll said, “It’s really unfortunate that we can’t maintain continuity, but — I don’t want to say this crassly — it’s not about the guys you lose, it’s about who’s coming up and who’s stepping in. McQuistan and (Breno) Giacomini (replacements for Carpenter and Moffitt) have done a great job the last couple of weeks on the right side. I think it’s a statement about our depth.
“Russell played a fantastic game Thursday. His game is so much better this year than it was last year at any time. He’s looked great, really.”
Regarding Marshawn Lynch, the running back who smashed the Eagles with 148 rushing yards, Carroll said “talks are ongoing” to give him a contract extension. Lynch, 25, is a free agent after the season, but has become one of the game’s most reliable rushers. He scored two touchdowns Thursday, making for eight games in a row he has had a TD.