RENTON, Wash. -- Seahawks star tackle Walter Jones will miss Seattle's final three games following microfracture surgery on his knee.
Coach Mike Holmgren said Friday the eight-time Pro Bowl blocker had holes drilled into a bone in his left knee on Thursday to regenerate cartilage.
"It will be training camp (before he returns), but he will be fine," Holmgren said after practice.
The generally understood recovery time for such a procedure calls for running to begin in four to six months, with a return to competition in six to nine months. Holmgren said the team is expecting Jones, who turns 35 next month, will be on the shorter ends of rehabilitation estimates because the tiny holes were drilled into a non-weight-bearing bone in Jones' leg.
The coach said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, resting a bulging disk in his back, and outside linebacker Leroy Hill, who has a pinched nerve in his neck, are also out for Sunday's game at St. Louis.
Team orthopedists Dr. Ed Khalfayan and Dr. Mike McAdam performed the procedure to find and fix the source of pain that last weekend caused Jones to miss his first game because of injury since his rookie year, 1997.
He had said this week he feels great other than the knee pain and expected to return for 13th season in 2009.
Holmgren believes Jones hurt the knee during a game months ago. Next week he will become the fifth offensive lineman to go on injured reserve in this lost season for Seattle (2-11).
Hasselbeck has played just one full game without Jones in his career, the 2002 season opener when Jones was holding out. Hasselbeck was sacked three times in that loss at Oakland and has joked he'd rather not play without Jones again.
Yet Holmgren said he thinks Hasselbeck, who will miss his seventh game of the season on Sunday, will return for one of the final two games.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press