Russell Wilson is feeling so loose and upbeat about his sprained ankle, he’s popping off jokes about it. And flying in his training buddies to take care of it.
What a difference in him and the Seahawks from four years ago.
“I was going to trip so you guys would worry,” the franchise’s cornerstone said before he practiced Thursday, as he walked onto the stage in the team’s main auditorium for his weekly news conference.
The quarterback articulated his mindset for being “ready to roll,” as he said, to start his 76th consecutive game in the regular season and postseason for Seattle (1-0) on Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams (0-1).
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He really articulated it.
“I think ultimately just being perfectly clear, being limpid – that’s a word of the day for you guys – just trying to be really, really clear for the day,” Wilson said.
After going Merriam-Webster, he didn’t want to answer how long he might be need to get treatment on his ankle.
“Yeah, I’ll be ready to roll,” Wilson said about starting Sunday.
Wilson said he’d slept about six combined hours since he sprained his right ankle Sunday in the season-opening win over Miami. Since then, he’s been on ice. Round-the-clock, “tons” of ice, he said – beginning minutes after the quarterback played the final 1 1/2 quarters last weekend on the sprained ankle and led Seattle to the win in the final seconds. That, and treatment.
Wilson flew up one of his personal trainers from Southern California, Drew Morcos, to treat the ankle in the evenings, after treatment from Seahawks trainers during the day.
The speed of his ankle’s healing has been the talk of the team’s medical personnel this week.
“That’s what the doctors and trainers have all been saying. They are kind of shocked it’s doing this well,” Wilson said. “Really not any swelling at all or things like that, because I got on it right away, hammering at it right away.
“Ultimately, I started off in the boot the first night, Sunday night. And Monday morning I just got off of it,” he said. “I knew I wanted to play on Sunday, so I knew I couldn’t play in a boot. Gotta find a way.”
Wilson’s career has evolved from the Seahawks’ coaches not trusting him to play any way he wanted four years ago to now permitting him to fly in his own people to help heal him in the best way he sees fit.
Carroll noted this week the turning point that accelerated that evolution came in Wilson’s rookie season at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Wilson led the offense on a 97-yard drive, capped by a go-ahead touchdown pass to Golden Tate with 24 seconds left in regulation.
Seattle’s defense gave it back, allowing the Bears to drive for the tying field goal. Undaunted, Wilson drove the Seahawks 80 yards in overtime and threw a game-winning TD pass to Sidney Rice.
It was how Wilson did it that cemented his style as the way Seattle’s coaches should let him play. The rookie spun away from pass rushers. He made improbable improvisational plays. He ran read-option keepers like a high-school dervish, something few in the NFL did.
It was a revelation. And it’s lasting through this week and this sprained ankle.
“We learned about his ability to produce in difficult situations and come through. We didn’t know that early and right off the bat,” Carroll said Wednesday. “It was his character, his athleticism – and then the ability to move like he could.
“I was pretty cautious with him early on. I didn’t want to overdo it. I wanted to make sure we didn’t expose him to too much to stuff he wasn’t prepared for. I’ll never get over the fact that he missed the chance to win that first game against the Cardinals on the road (a 20-16 loss that ended with Seattle near Arizona’s goal line).
“If that would have happened in the first game, it would’ve set everything in motion a lot faster. It would’ve helped me too, I think. Unfortunately, we had to wait all the way to the Chicago game in game seven or eight before we really said, ‘OK. Let’s cut him loose and let him go.’ ”
“I think I’ve learned something from that experience.”
Carroll said what he and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Wilson’s play caller, learned that 2012 day in Chicago was to quit being too protective of No. 3.
No more. Now he’s practicing on a sprained ankle and treating it as he chooses.
“The Chicago game is still so vividly in my mind, what he did in that game, to get us back in. It really showed us an elevation of quarterback play,” Carroll said.
“Russell kind of took over the game. And I remember saying to Bev during the game, ‘Cut him loose! Don’t hold him back. Let’s go!’ You could just feel it.
“I just wish I could have felt it earlier. Then we could have been better earlier.”
He’s been pretty good since. He has 47 wins in 65 regular-season starts plus 107 TD passes, two Super Bowls and Seattle’s only NFL title.
So, yeah, Wilson isn’t limited anymore.
Bevell said Wilson’s touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin last weekend with 31 seconds remaining that beat Miami in the opener – after Wilson changed out of one play from at the 2 and called a play that Baldwin said the QB had never called that way – was something Wilson would not have done four years ago.
Also new: Wilson relishing the challenge of playing hurt after starting his career playing 75 consecutive games, regular season or postseason. when perhaps doctors and trainers were saying he should be more injured, more unable to play his 76th consecutive regular-season and postseason game for Seattle to begin his career. This week is the first time he’s been on an injury report in the NFL.
“Just kind of the mindset of being able to overcome a situation,” he said.
Carroll marvels at how tirelessly fiendishly Wilson has been trying to conquer this latest challenge.
“His attitude is as charged up as you can imagine,” Carroll said. “As always, he’s excited to prove that he can make this back and get back and all that. He’s half-crazy about proving it.”
Wilson said he’s never sprained an ankle before. But he and Carroll have alluded to other bangs and ailments Wilson has played through as a Seahawk.
“It’s a new experience,” Wilson said of this week, “but nothing I can’t handle.”
In addition to Wilson practicing fully for the second consecutive day, so did tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) and third-down running back C.J. Prosise (cracked bone in his hand). The third-down back is practicing with a protective cover over the hand he injured in the opener.