Sports

Carroll plays parent to a healing Wilson

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson plans to play Sunday despite a high-ankle sprain and a sprained knee.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson plans to play Sunday despite a high-ankle sprain and a sprained knee. The Associated Press

Russell Wilson practiced fully – yet again.

He’s on track to play this weekend – yet again.

Many observers believe that Pete Carroll is being too pragmatic here.

Playing Wilson on the quarterback’s sprained ankle and newly sprained knee is so that Seattle can win Sunday’s game at the New York Jets – and can head into the following week’s bye at 3-1, guaranteed no worse than a tie atop the NFC West.

If the coach rests Wilson against the Jets’ rugged defense, such critics believe, the coach knows Seattle would likely lose.

But to Carroll, he is being paternal.

Wilson was a full participant in practice Wednesday, three days after he injured his left knee on a sack in Seattle’s rout of San Francisco. Carroll said he’d be surprised if Wilson does not start on Sunday for the 78th consecutive time since his NFL career began.

“Yeah, I would be surprised,” the coach said. “He’s pretty determined to get this done.”

What else is new?

Carroll has said after the sprained ankle and now the sprained knee that Wilson is “half-crazy” about being motivated to heal faster than people believe he can heal, and play when people think he shouldn’t. Or can’t.

“I can tolerate pain a little bit,” Wilson deadpanned after he sprained his knee.

So, yes, Wilson will likely play against the Jets instead of undrafted rookie backup Trevone Boykin.

Sprained medial collateral ligament, sprained right ankle, and all.

“I wanted to say this: When we make these decisions with our players and how we support the information, how we support the process of the comeback and all that, it’s really clear. I am doing this like these guys are my own kids,” Carroll said.

It’s a somewhat remarkable approach in the bottom-line world of pro football.

“What would you tell your son?” asked Carroll, a 64-year-old father of three. “How would you look after him, so they are safe for the long haul and they learn how to understand the challenge, and how there is a process in here? And, yet, you are looking out after them because you care about them and don’t want to put them in the wrong situation.

“So that’s how we are guided.”

Already this month Wilson has played through what is believed to be a high-ankle sprain, which usually sidelines players for multiple weeks. Teammate and starting right guard Germain Ifedi is on track to play Sunday after missing the season’s first three games with the same injury.

Wilson was noticeably limited in his ability to avoid pass rushers in a 9-3 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles on Sept. 18. It was the fewest points that Seattle had scored in five years.

Last weekend against the 49ers, with his ankles heavily wrapped, Wilson moved better but was not his usual, elusive self. A fully healthy Wilson probably would not have gotten run down from behind and had his left knee crumple beneath his body weight, as happened after San Francisco’s Eli Harold yanked Wilson. A healthy Wilson would have zoomed around Harold and either scrambled for a first down or thrown on the run for a completion. He’s been doing that for four years.

Now, Wilson’s out of legs to injure. His sprained knee is requiring a brace through this week’s practices, and likely for Sunday’s game as well, Carroll has said.

After his latest injury, his second one in three games this season, Wilson shrugged at the prospect of more rehabilitation, ice and therapy, saying: “I’ll be good to go.”

“Russell was out there and really like the last two weeks, moving around, doing his thing,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said following Wednesday’s practice. “He does such a great job of doing all the rehab and the things that he has to do to get himself right. He’s got an unbelievable will to practice and to do everything.”

But is there a potential downside to such a will? Can a player such as Wilson not know when to say when about finally sitting out to heal?

“The question really is, ‘who is going to step in when the guy can’t see the reality of it?’ ” Carroll said. “We take it seriously. Very seriously. It’s not, ‘the game is so big that nothing else matters.’ That is not how this works.

Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle

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