Seahawks lose LT and top pick Russell Okung to ankle injury early against PackersBy Gregg Bell, AP
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Seahawks lose LT Okung to ankle injury
SEATTLE — The Seahawks could be without sixth-overall draft choice Russell Okung for a while after he left Seattle’s second preseason game with an ankle injury.
Coach Pete Carroll said after Green Bay beat Seattle 27-24 on Saturday night that the left tackle to whom Seattle just guaranteed $29 million to replace retired All-Pro Walter Jones could have a high right ankle sprain, pending an MRI exam Sunday. Those sometimes take two months or more to heal.
“It’s pretty significant,” Carroll said of the loss of the foundation to his changing offensive line. “Obviously we made it as big a priority as we could make it to get him.”
Carroll said he didn’t know how Okung got injured, only that it stings the entire team that is banking on improved offensive line play to lead a comeback season from 9-23 the last two years.
He sprained the same ankle in Oklahoma State’s opener against Georgia last season but missed only a few plays. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound stalwart started all 13 games for those college Cowboys last season, though the ankle continued to bother him late into the year.
Mansfield Wrotto, normally a guard, replaced him. Seattle is already without backup tackle Ray Willis for an indefinite time because he is facing knee surgery.
After Okung missed the first eight days of training camp because of a contract impasse, the Seahawks gave him a six-year deal earlier this month that has a maximum value of $58 million.
“That’s a big loss if he can’t come back. We put a lot of time and effort to get this guy right and he’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” Carroll said. “We’ll see what it is. I don’t know how long it’s going to take.”
Asked if it could be more than a couple of weeks that a more conventional, lower ankle sprain sometimes needs to heal, Carroll said: “It could be. We don’t know that yet. We’ll figure him out. We don’t know him as a healer, either.”
For a point of reference at the same position, Seattle was without fill-in left tackle Sean Locklear for six games last season because of a high ankle sprain. Locklear is now starting on the right side but could be headed back to left tackle with Okung’s injury.
Okung was not in the Seahawks’ locker room following the game.
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