For the first time since they acquired him six seasons ago, the Seahawks are going to be without Marshawn Lynch for an extended time.
Seattle’s star running back had successful surgery Wednesday in Philadelphia to repair an abdominal issue “related to” a sports hernia and doctors are optimistic he may be able to return in “three or four weeks.”
That’s what coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday afternoon, a couple hours after specialist Dr. William C. Meyers performed the procedure. The team had learned officially Wednesday morning he was having the procedure.
Carroll said that while there is “a chance” Lynch will not be able to return to a regular season that has six games remaining, Meyers and his staff have given the team belief the NFL’s rushing leader since 2011 can return be back before the end of December. Lynch will remain in Philadelphia for a few days to begin the rehabilitation of his core muscles.
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“The doctor projected he could heal very quickly,” Carroll said.
Lynch has been in Philadelphia since Monday to see Dr. Meyers, a specialist on core-muscle injuries. The five-time Pro Bowl selection and 2012 All-Pro first felt pain in his abdomen at the end of practice Nov. 12. He last played three days later against Arizona but carried the ball just eight times, and Carroll said Lynch felt worse pain by the end of that game.
"Surgery to repair the torn tissues in the groin can be done as a traditional, open procedure with one long incision, or as an endoscopic procedure," the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states. "In an endoscopy, the surgeon makes smaller skin incisions and uses a small camera, called an endoscope, to see inside the abdomen.
"The end results of traditional and endoscopic procedures are the same. ... Most athletes are able to return to sports six to 12 weeks after surgery."
So given that, coming back within a month would be a positive. Carroll said he never considered it that way, that Lynch missing multiple games for the first time since he joined the team in 2010 was bad enough.
It appears Lynch will Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, Dec. 6’s at Minnesota, Dec. 13’s at Baltimore, and likely the Dec. 20 home game against Cleveland. The Seahawks (5-5) have two games in the regular season remaining after that in their drive to get into the playoffs again, Dec. 27 against St. Louis and Jan. 3 at Arizona.
For now, it will be undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls leading Seattle’s NFL-best running game. And that’s worked out just fine so far for the Seahawks.
Lynch missed last weekend’s win over San Francisco in which his backup romped for a Seattle rookie-record 209 yards rushing. Rawls has two 100-yard games and that 200-yard rushing day while Lynch has been out with calf, hamstring, nausea and now the abdomen issues the last two months.
Since late September Lynch has missed three games plus all but one quarter of a fourth contest. He’d missed just one game over his first five seasons with Seattle.
He’s had calf, hamstring, nausea and now abdominal issues this season since playing only the second quarter of the win over Chicago Sept. 27. His 417 yards rushing this season is almost 800 yards fewer than his lowest season total as a Seahawk.
The contract extension he signed in March through the 2017 season calls for him to earn a non-guaranteed $9 million in base pay next season. That’s a price the Seahawks will almost certainly seek to renegotiate down -- if not shed.
"We’ll hopefully have Marshawn back. To have one of the best running backs in the game makes my job a little bit easier to have him out there making plays," quarterback Russell Wilson said Monday. "Just praying that he’s healthy, for his own sake, then also for our team’s sake. He’s a difference maker, for sure.
"To think about Thomas Rawls and how he’s stepped up for us, it’s big."