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Seattle RB Alexander says crack in his wrist no big deal

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- By now Shaun Alexander says he's used to the idea of having a cracked bone in his left wrist.

Especially since the Seahawks star running back says the injury took place in Week 1 against Tampa Bay, and a crack developing was expected.

"All these questions would have been tough to answer three weeks ago," Alexander said on Thursday. "Now, it just is what it is."

Alexander's cracked wrist was news on Monday when Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren made the announcement. Previously, it was thought that Alexander simply had a sprained wrist, although he wore a cast to protect the wrist in practice and in Seattle's past two games.

When Alexander went in for a scheduled X-ray on Monday, the pictures showing a break formed were no surprise.

"It's better now than it has been," he said.

Alexander said Thursday he believes the injury first happened in the second quarter of Seattle's season-opening win against Tampa Bay. X-rays taken then didn't show any breaks in the wrist, but the team's medical staff believed a crack could potentially develop. Alexander was told it could be a couple of weeks before a break appeared on X-rays.

There was some concern that the break occurred when Alexander was hit by Cincinnati's Lemar Marshall late in the first half of Seattle's 24-21 win last week. Alexander said he was hit higher on the arm, although he wore a larger cast over the wrist in the second half against the Bengals.

He finished with 100 yards on 21 carries against Cincinnati, including 44 yards in the fourth quarter and a critical 14-yard run on fourth-and-1 to set up Seattle's winning score.

"He's given great effort," Holmgren said. "He had great effort near the end of the game."

Alexander will again be similarly protected this week when the Seahawks play at San Francisco (2-1). And wearing the bulky cast is having some impact -- mostly notably in his pass blocking and how he falls.

"A couple of times in the game (against Cincinnati) he didn't use his cast hand. He just did like this and got beat," Holmgren said of Alexander's blocking.

So pass blocking -- already one of Alexander's least favorite things -- is a focal point this week. Holmgren met with Alexander and the team's training staff earlier in the week to make sure Alexander could use both hands in blocking without causing any further damage.

Assured that no more damage can be done, it's now a matter of how much discomfort Alexander is willing to endure using his injured hand to protect quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Running back coach Stump Mitchell said no special techniques are being used.

"When it comes to pass blocking, the force of someone else creates a little pain for him, but he'll be OK," Mitchell said. "We just have to get him to try and use it. That's the bottom line. Last week, he didn't even attempt to use that hand. We've been doing some things this week pass blocking in practice and he's been able to do that."

The cast is limiting Alexander's ability to be used in the passing game, having dropped a pair of passes last week. The Seahawks are hopeful backup Maurice Morris -- who is better in the passing game -- will be available to play this week after missing the previous two games with a hip injury. Morris practiced Wednesday but was held out Thursday.

"Mo and I have been a great one-two punch for years now," Alexander said. "To have him back is going to be very beneficial for our offense."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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