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Seahawks rookie DK Metcalf needs knee surgery, readiness for start of season in doubt

Pete Carroll details Seahawks’ preseason loss at Minnesota, including DK Metcalf needing surgery

Coach Pete Carroll details Seahawks’ preseason loss at Minnesota, including DK Metcalf needing surgery.
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Coach Pete Carroll details Seahawks’ preseason loss at Minnesota, including DK Metcalf needing surgery.

Time to put the brakes on the DK Metcalf Hype Train.

The rookie wide receiver’s health is now an immediate concern.

Metcalf, the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice, will have surgery this week to fix an injured knee.

Coach Pete Carroll said after Metcalf did not play in Seattle’s 25-19 preseason loss Sunday night at Minnesota that the surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

Carroll said the procedure will be in the Seattle area, and team doctors have a clear idea what to fix, though Carroll would not specify whether Metcalf’s injury was to a ligament, meniscus or what. The Seahawks are optimistic Metcalf, who missed most of his last college season at Mississippi with a neck injury, can make a relatively quick recovery.

“DK’s got an injury to his knee that we found after; it happened a few days back,” Carroll said.

Metcalf practiced Friday, the last one open to the media before Sunday’s game. The Seahawks practiced at team headquarters in Renton on Saturday before flying to Minneapolis later in the day.

“So it is something we are going to do some work on, probably Tuesday, then get him back in a hurry,” Carroll said.

“Disappointed for him, because he is off to a fantastic start. But I don’t think this is going to derail him for long.

“But he does have to get some work done. We’ll know more about that when we get back (to Seattle Monday morning).”

Carroll said there is a chance Metcalf will be ready for the season opener. But Carroll sees the sun at midnight, too. The first game is 19 days after Metcalf’s scheduled surgery, Sept. 8 against Cincinnati. The recovery time for even basic, arthroscopic procedures in knees are usually at least three weeks.

So we’ll see.

The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell on DK Metcalf surgery, more from Seahawks’ second preseason game at Minnesota.

Why the optimism, besides Carroll being Carroll?

“The docs really have a clear look at it already on the MRI, what it is. And they think it’s a really quick recovery, likely, to all that has to happen.

“We are going to keep him in town, get the work done right away, and be very optimistic about the way he can come back.”

Asked specifically if Metcalf will be ready for week one, the coach paused and then was vague.

“There’s optimism in that way, yeah,” Carroll said.

No matter how much time Metcalf misses, this will be a mental test for a 21-year-old.

Metcalf has had the inside track on becoming Seattle’s starting split end for that opener against Cincinnati. He just missed two long receptions and perhaps touchdowns in his first NFL game. Two deep passes by backup quarterback Geno Smith sailed just beyond Metcalf’s finger tips after he had soundly beaten Denver’s cornerbacks down the field in the preseason opener.

Wide receiver is as competitive a position as the Seahawks have this preseason, but is also largely unknown behind top returning pass catcher Tyler Lockett. Doug Baldwin, quarterback Russell Wilson’s most trusted third-down and red-zone receiver for most of this decade, retired because of injuries this offseason. Jaron Brown, who had two catches for 52 yards Sunday, including a 33-yard connection with Wilson in the first half, appears to be the top healthy receiver now behind Lockett. Then it’s 2017 seventh-round pick David Moore, big undrafted rookie Jazz Ferguson, returning backup Keenan Reynolds, second-year man Malik Turner and rookie seventh-round pick John Ursua.

Metcalf was clearly out-performing all of them. Until now.

Wilson has worked extensively with the 6-foot-4, 229-pound rookie in practices. Wilson is often timing his practice turns in drills to line up with Metcalf’s. He also took him to Los Angeles last month for extra work before training camp began.

Following Sunday’s game, Wilson was asked what he’s telling Metcalf about the first setback of his NFL career, no matter how long it ends up keeping him out.

“Nah, he shouldn’t (worry). It’s part of the game, you know,” Wilson said. “DK is going to be a great player. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to play tonight.

“But we will see how great he can be.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson pleased with starting offense in Seahawks’ second preseason game at Minnesota.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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