Seahawks' Marcus Trufant out for season with another back injury
Veteran cornerback's injury is recurrence of back earlier back problems, raises questions about his future with Seahawks.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ Browns, 10 a.m., Ch. 13
RENTON — The Seahawks did not play Sunday, but they still had a loss to deal with Monday.
Cornerback Marcus Trufant will not play again this season after being placed on injured reserve because of an injury to his lower back.
"We're just really disappointed for him," coach Pete Carroll said.
Walter Thurmond becomes Seattle's starting left cornerback, a promotion that he appeared ready for when he started at New York on Oct. 9. The Seahawks also have rookie Richard Sherman and Roy Lewis, who can be activated this week after missing the first six weeks of the regular season recovering from knee surgery.
The bigger question is Trufant's long-term prospects with the team. Trufant, 30, is a captain on defense and the longest-tenured member of the Seahawks, who chose him in the first round of the draft in 2003. He has two years remaining on his contract after 2011, but he accepted a reduced salary to stay with the Seahawks this season.
Does Seattle expect Trufant will be ready to come back for training camp in 2012?
"I would think so," Carroll said. "I would think he would. We haven't even talked about that yet. We're just trying to get through the shock of what this is."
Trufant was not available to answer questions Monday.
The back injury that sidelined Trufant is similar to the one that kept him out for the first six games of 2009. Trufant suffered from a disk problem that cropped up before training camp opened and began the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Trufant played the final 10 games of 2009, but clearly was not at his best that season. He played in all 16 games in 2010, but he left the team's Dec. 19 game against Atlanta because of back spasms.
Trufant's back injury first surfaced this year after practice before Seattle played at the New York Giants. He sat out two practices that Thursday and Friday, and while he made the trip to New York, he did not play. Carroll said afterward that Trufant couldn't bend down to tie his shoelaces.
The injury was initially described as a bruised sacrum by Carroll, but he said Monday that it is similar to the back injury that Trufant had in 2009.
"This is for lifelong care," Carroll said. "We've got to take care of this guy or this could be a problem that could bother him forever."
The plan is not for Trufant to undergo surgery, but to rehabilitate the injury.
The Seahawks signed defensive tackle Jason Shirley to take Trufant's spot on the roster, and added linebacker Stephen Franklin to take the spot of linebacker Aaron Curry, who was traded to Oakland last week.
Last week, the Seahawks claimed running back Allen Bradford off waivers from Tampa Bay, filling the spot held by linebacker Jameson Konz, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
The Seahawks practiced Monday for 90 minutes in what Carroll called a bonus workout. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson did not practice because of his strained pectoral muscle. Seattle is preparing for this week as if Charlie Whitehurst will start at quarterback, but Carroll did not rule Jackson out.
"We're just taking it one day at a time and see how he tolerates it," Carroll said. "He was running out here a little bit. He's way ahead of any schedule that anybody would have thought at this point. We'll just see where that takes us. We don't know. "
• Lewis, TE Cameron Morrah, and WR Deon Butler are eligible to begin practicing with Seattle on Wednesday. All three began this season on the PUP list.
• LG Robert Gallery (groin) and C Max Unger (foot) did not practice with the team Monday, but may be ready for Wednesday's workout.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org