Hasselbeck practices, expects to start, but still feels soreness in side Print
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007 14:49
NFL Headline News

 KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Matt Hasselbeck wore a black and a blue necklace, intertwined and laced with titanium, throughout practice. It's the fashion rage among baseball players these days.
``Worked for the Red Sox. Trying it,'' the Boston-area native and former Boston College Eagles quarterback said Wednesday.
The Seahawks quarterback hopes it works for achy sides, too.
Hasselbeck made it through his first practice since he strained his right oblique muscle in a win over St. Louis on Oct. 21, though he appeared bothered. He winced. He bent over at the waist. He consulted the team trainer and quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn. And he continually rotated his right, throwing arm in a windmill motion, as if to loosen it.
It was loose enough. One pass was a perfectly lofted, 50-yard throw that reached D.J. Hackett's hands as the receiver sprinted down the sideline.
``Yeah, I think he was conscious of just seeing how it feels, just to see what it felt like to make all the throws. It was good,'' Zorn said.
Hasselbeck and the Seahawks said he'll be ready to start when skittish Seattle (4-3) comes off its bye and plays at surging Cleveland (4-3) on Sunday.
``I was probably a little bit careful,'' Hasselbeck said after skipping only a couple of snaps with the first-team offense.
Monday, he sat out all the drills while Seneca Wallace - who went 2-2 starting last season while Hasselbeck was out with a sprained knee - and Charlie Frye worked with the first team.
``Honestly, it's something that was painful,'' Hasselbeck said before going back into the training room for more treatment and more ice wrapped onto his side. ``I've worked hard all last week trying to get better trying to do what I could, and I think the things we did really helped. I feel really good going into this week.''
The area of Hasselbeck's injury - sustained when Rams pass rusher Claude Wroten slammed his helmet and shoulder pad into Hasselbeck's side as he threw an incomplete pass in the second quarter of the Seahawks' most recent game - gets pulled each time Hasselbeck raises the ball to throw it.
``It has to do with your torso and twisting,'' said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, a former college quarterback at USC. ``It might affect the quarterback more than any other position on the team, if you stop and think about it.
``It's not gone entirely ... but I expect in a couple of days it probably should be gone. And yes, he has to fight through it.''
Hasselbeck had the best September of his career, leading Seattle to three wins in its first four games even though Shaun Alexander and the running game was stalled. This month, he's been sacked eight times in three games - two of them losses. Yet he is completing 61.4 percent of his passes for the season and has had at least two touchdown passes in four of the past five games.
He's not the only Seahawks player hurting.
Leading receiver Deion Branch was supposed to be back by now from a sprained right foot that has caused him to miss the past two games. But he was in sweat pants, a sweat shirt and knit cap instead of a uniform during practice Wednesday. Holmgren said Branch has a 50 percent chance of playing Sunday.
Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones was limited in practice by a chronically sore shoulder. Starting right tackle Sean Locklear was limited by a sore ankle. And Holmgren said Marcus Pollard is a ``long shot'' to play against the Browns. The tight end had surgery to repair partially torn cartilage in his right knee. Will Heller, who caught a career-high two touchdown passes against the Rams, will likely start again. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard was limited by a sore groin.
In an effort to shake up the running game, Holmgren inserted oft-injured veteran backup Floyd Womack at right guard for Chris Gray and left guard for Rob Sims during first-team drills Wednesday. Sims, a native of Macedonia, Ohio, and former Ohio State player whose father Mickey played for the Browns from 1977-79, sounded resigned to Womack starting for him Sunday.
And disappointed.
``I've got 400 people coming to the game. It's going to be crazy if it goes down that way,'' said Sims, a fourth-round draft pick last year who has started all seven games this season. ``Yeah, it would be embarrassing, embarrassing for my family. But it's not about me, it's about the team.
``I'm hoping this is the time I can look back on in my career and say, I turned the corner - to being great from being good.''

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