|Injured Alexander nowhere to be found as Seahawks begin preparing for 49ers|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 07 November 2007 17:41|
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Shaun Alexander had plenty of good reasons for not being at the Seahawks practice on Wednesday.|
A broken left wrist. A twisted left knee. A sprained left ankle.
Seattle's No. 1 running back joined leading receiver Deion Branch (sprained foot), tight end Marcus Pollard (arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last month), defensive end Patrick Kerney (strained oblique), defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (strained groin) and outside linebacker Leroy Hill (strained right hamstring) - all starters - in missing the first major preparation day for the Seahawks (4-4) before they host San Francisco (2-6) on Monday night.
Special teams standouts Niko Koutouvides and Will Herring, a rookie, are also hurt. They have sore hamstrings, though Koutouvides practiced a little on Wednesday.
``But some of them will come back. We'll practice them, hopefully, on Friday,'' coach Mike Holmgren said. ``I think we're going to have half of them for the game.
``Now which half? I don't know,'' he said, chuckling.
``Herring I would say is doubtful, and all the rest of them have a shot. And I don't say that with a lot of conviction, but they have a shot.''
Alexander hurt the knee and ankle while rushing for 32 yards on 14 carries Sunday.
``The swelling has gone down. It was not a structural injury,'' Holmgren said. ``It's just now the swelling has to go down, his range of motion has to come back. The inflammation is limiting his ability to bend his knee.
``Friday or Saturday he has to show me he can do what he does, otherwise we'll probably rest him.''
Branch kept saying he was ``day to day'' but it seems likely he will miss a third consecutive game.
He watched practice from behind the wheel of an equipment cart, his foot heavily wrapped and propped onto a seat. Pollard favored his leg while walking through the team facility. That means wide receiver Bobby Engram, who had a career-high 14 catches in Sunday's 33-30 overtime loss at Cleveland, will again likely get passes that usually go to Holmgren's tight ends.
The absence of Alexander seemingly will have far less impact than it would have had even a few weeks ago - a sign of how sharply the 2005 league MVP has fallen.
He has just 139 yards over his past four games. His total of 492 yards in eight games this season, the past seven of which he's played with a cast over his left wrist, is his lowest eight-game rushing total since 2000 when he was a rookie backing up Ricky Watters. His two touchdowns are 26 fewer than he had while leading Seattle into the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
Holmgren said again on Wednesday that he intends to replace many usual running calls with more passes from Matt Hasselbeck, the one consistent performer on an offense that has been mediocre all season. Then the coach showed that intention during drills.
``If today at practice was any indication or (has) meaning, we've got a lot more shots downfield, a lot more things that are sort of wide-open,'' Hasselbeck said. ``A very aggressive offense.''
Yet an offense that still is in flux. Wednesday brought another tweak in the starting offensive line, part of Holmgren's promise last week to mix and match in search of better run-blocking. Veteran backup Floyd Womack worked in place of first-team right tackle Sean Locklear for much of practice. Locklear missed practice last week with a sore ankle, but was not listed by the team as injured Wednesday.
Last week, Womack practiced ahead of starting right guard Chris Gray and starting left guard Rob Sims, but Gray and Sims started against Cleveland.
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