Austin Seferian-Jenkins has surgery on his fractured pinkie
Coach Steve Sarkisian says he is unsure of when the tight end will return.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Michael Hartvigson broke free down the middle of the field and hauled in a well-thrown pass from backup quarterback Cyler Miles during a 7-on-7 drill midway through Washington’s practice Thursday afternoon.
It was indeed a productive day for Hartvigson, and for fellow backup tight end Josh Perkins. For the next two weeks, their continued emergence will take on new meaning for the Huskies with the status of injured star Austin Seferian-Jenkins unknown for UW’s Aug. 31 season opener against Boise State.
Seferian-Jenkins, a preseason All-American tight end, had surgery Thursday on his fractured right pinkie finger, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian said he wasn’t sure of a timeline for Seferian-Jenkins return; he was hoping to find out after talking with the media Thursday evening.
“We’ll find out,” he said.
The Huskies are also trying to find out how much of a workload Hartvigson and Perkins can handle in Seferian-Jenkins’ absence.
Sarkisian liked what he saw Thursday, when Hartvigson and Perkins spent considerable time with quarterback Keith Price and the No. 1 offense.
“Michael, this might’ve been his best practice at camp,” Sarkisian said. “He was effective in the passing game, which was good. I don’t know if he’d been playing great; he wasn’t playing up to his potential (earlier in camp).”
Between the two backups, Hartvigson, a 6-foot-6, 257-pound former standout at Bothell High, is considered the better blocker. He has 14 career catches and one touchdown as Seferian-Jenkins’ primary backup the past two seasons.
The 6-3, 224-pound Perkins, a converted receiver, is the more polished pass-catcher, though he appeared mostly on special teams as a redshirt freshman last season, registering one tackle.
“Josh has had a really good training camp,” Sarkisian said. “He’s blocking, he’s route-running, he’s physical when he’s asked to be. He’s a nice element (and) he’s a tough matchup on linebackers because he can really run. I’ve been impressed by him.”
Perkins said he doesn’t feel pressure with Seferian-Jenkins out.
“I’m not going to try to be ASJ. Austin’s his own person,” Perkins said. “I’m going to be Josh Perkins. That’s who I am and that’s who I’m going to be. … Whatever situation they put me in, I just want to flourish. If they give me the ball, I’m going to try to make as many plays as possible.”
Hudson staying put
Even with Seferian-Jenkins’ injury, Sarkisian said he won’t move defensive end Evan Hudson back to offense. Hudson, who converted from tight end at the start of training camp, has been working almost exclusively with the No. 1 defense as the strong-side end.
“Evan’s doing awesome,” Sarkisisan said. “He’s exactly what we were looking for. And to Evan’s credit, he’s gotten better and better and better every practice. For us, because of what we’re doing, to have a strong-side defensive end that can be that physical and take on double teams — whether it’s guards and tackles, or tackles and tight ends — is really essential, and he’s doing a good job.”
• The apparent ankle injury sophomore Cory Littleton suffered is “nothing serious,” Sarkisian said. Littleton was carted off the sideline late in Wednesday’s practice, but he was back in shells with the rest of the team for Thursday’s practice, though the sophomore only did some light jogging.
• Junior Hau’oli Jamora said he has legally changed last name to Kikaha to honor his mother’s side of the family. The new name will appear on his No. 8 jersey. The defensive end from Laie, Hawaii, is line to regain a starting job after knee injuries derailed his 2011 and 2012 seasons.