RENTON, Wash. -- Marcus Trufant's season is being cut short after back problems that sidelined him for nearly half of the 2009 season flared up again.
Trufant, the Seattle Seahawks' starting cornerback and longest-tenured player, was placed on season-ending injured reserve Monday as the team returned from a bye week. Trufant will be replaced in the lineup by second-year pro Walter Thurmond.
Trufant originally was believed to have a bruised sacrum -- a triangular bone at the base of the spine -- suffered at some point during the Seahawks' Week 4 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. But the injury, which flared up during the middle of the week and not immediately after the game, turned out to be more like a disk issue that caused Trufant to miss six games during the 2009 season.
"It's the right thing to do. We've got to take care of him," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of placing Trufant on IR. "It's a recurring back situation. We didn't realize it really is what happened before, and so we've got to take care of him and he's going to be down for some time."
Carroll said the team was unclear at first about what Trufant's back issue was. Trufant made the trip with the team to New York in Week 5 for the Seahawks' victory over the Giants but was inactive and described by Carroll as being unable to bend over and tie his shoes.
Trufant, a first-round draft pick (11th overall) in 2003, has spent all nine of his NFL seasons in Seattle and started 123 of 124 career games. Carroll said the hope is that Trufant's back can be treated without needing surgery.
Aside from Trufant, the Seahawks are still unsure if starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will be available for Sunday's game at Cleveland after he suffered a strained pectoral muscle against the Giants. Jackson has done some limited throwing, Carroll said, but the Seahawks are moving ahead with the idea of having backup Charlie Whitehurst ready to start against the Browns.
Carroll is more optimistic about starting offensive linemen Robert Gallery and Max Unger's ability to play. Gallery has missed the past three games after suffering a groin injury that required surgery and is expected to practice Wednesday. Unger is slightly behind Gallery's timeline after he suffered a foot injury in the win at New York, but he probably will fully practice later in the week, Carroll said.
Note: To fill Trufant's roster spot, the Seahawks signed DT Jason Shirley and later Monday signed LB Stephen Franklin to replace Jameson Konz, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. ... The Seahawks also were awarded RB Allen Bradford, who played for Carroll at USC, off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bradford took the roster spot of LB Aaron Curry, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders last week for two future draft picks.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press