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Seahawks LB Tatupu out for season with torn pectoral muscle

  • By Associated Press
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RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks' fourth fallen star had his season end Thursday.

A team spokesman said three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu went on injured reserve while he had surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle in Alabama. Tatupu traveled there to consult with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

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Tatupu, the Seahawks' defensive captain, was injured during the first half of an Oct. 18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He was hit high by teammate Deon Grant as both tried to make a tackle.

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones went on injured reserve Wednesday. The 35-year-old said he will attempt to play in 2010, though no one knows if he will ever play again following microfracture knee surgery in December and then an arthroscopic procedure on the same left knee in August.

At least quarterback Matt Hasselbeck practiced after missing two consecutive workout days. The ribs he broke during a Sept. 20 game at San Francisco still aren't healed, but he and Seahawks coach Jim Mora said the three-time Pro Bowl passer will start Sunday at Dallas.

Hasselbeck said he feels "tight and sticky" in his torso as his ribs enter the final phase of healing.

"So those are three pretty big topics," Mora said of Tatupu, Jones and Hasselbeck.

Tatupu, 26, didn't miss a game in his first 3½ seasons in the NFL. He has played following concussions, a swollen knee, a strained groin, a broken thumb and, earlier this season, a strained hamstring that cost him a start. Sunday will mark just his third absence from a game in less than 12 months.

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Tatupu will be replaced by David Hawthorne, an undrafted free agent who will make just his second career start.

The Seahawks expect to use the roster spot vacated by Tatupu to add cornerback Marcus Trufant off the physically unable to perform list Saturday. Of course, that's if no one else goes down before then. Seattle has had 12 starters miss at least one game because of injury this season.

Trufant, a Pro Bowl selection in 2007, hasn't played since Dec. 28 because of a disk issue in his back. Mora said Trufant likely will play only in nickel defensive alignments against the Cowboys as he works his way back into game shape.

Jones is slowly working his way back to being able to merely walk and sit without pain in his knee.

"Oh man, it's tough," Jones said. "I've always been there, I've always been that guy. When it was time to play football, I've always been there."

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Jones hinted that he might not be there any more, if doctors decide a third knee surgery is needed.

Jones has two non-guaranteed years at $7.3 million each remaining on a seven-year contract. An eighth season at $1 million for 2012 is voidable.

Mora said the team will reevaluate Jones in the early months of 2010. Because his signing bonus already has been prorated over five years for salary-cap purposes, Jones could be released with negligible impact on Seattle's cap. And that's if the league has a cap next year, pending labor negotiations with the players' union.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press


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