The Seahawks dodged a couple of injury bullets against Denver and have to hope they are not issues that linger and become big problems later in the season.
Left tackle Russell Okung returned despite suffering a shoulder injury and strong safety Kam Chancellor played with bone spurs in an ankle — playing so well that he garnered NFC defensive player of the week honors.
For both Okung and Chancellor, the bye comes at the perfect time. And Seahawks fans have to hope they can tough it through the season.
Injuries have messed with both players during their short careers.
Okung missed 19 games over his first four seasons — including eight last year with a foot injury that required surgery after the season. He probably knows he needs to stay healthy if he is going to figure in the team’s long-term plans.
When he left the game Sunday with a strained shoulder, everyone braced for the kind of bad news that has always come when Okung has left the field. But he surprised everyone by returning for the start of the second half.
“He went down, and he knew something happened in his shoulder,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I think he took the time to really pray and, when he jumped up, he felt like his prayers were answered. He felt a lot better than what he thought was happening, so he just took his time trying to get through it and, in great fashion, he came back, finished the game and did a nice job. It’s really cool how he can bounce back from that.”
Chancellor bounced back, too, after the ankle really hindered him in the loss in San Diego.
Of course, playing with injuries is nothing new for him. In 2012, he was hobbled by bone spurs in his ankle. It affected his play, and the defense suffered because of it. He had surgery after the season.
Last season, Chancellor played through a hip injury — but he had a spectacular second half of the season and was probably the best defender on the team in the playoffs. He ended up having surgery on the hip in the offseason.
When he started poorly in the first two games — missing seven tackles — it seemed like it was a result of rust after he missed much of the preseason while recovering from the hip surgery. As it turned out, it was more than that.
“He’s had ankle issues for some time,” Carroll said. “His ankle really bothered him in the San Diego game; it was on fire. It really got in the way of his play.”
It was so bad that Chancellor reportedly was considering having surgery this week, which would have put him out for perhaps half the season.
“We didn’t have a great outlook going into the (Denver) week,” Carroll said. “We weren’t sure. But it just turned really quickly on Thursday and fortunately he came flying back.”
That doesn’t mean the injury is gone, though. It figures to be an ongoing issue all season.
“It might be. We’ll see,” Carroll said. “We managed it really well. Maybe we’ll figure something out. We’ll find out.”
Losing Chancellor would be a blow to the Legion of Boom, which already is shorthanded without injured cornerbacks Tharold Simon and Jeremy Lane.
Simon, who had minor knee surgery, ran this week for the first time and seems like he should be back by Week 6 against Dallas, if he doesn’t make it back in two weeks for Washington.
“Those will be day-to-day evaluations,” Carroll said. “The two weeks (between games) really does come at a good time. We will be thrilled to get him back. Seems like everything is going well.”
Carroll repeated that Lane (groin) should be ready when he is eligible to come off injured reserve at midseason.
If the team trainers can help Chancellor manage his ankle problem, the Hawks just might get stronger in the secondary.
In the meantime, they can be thankful they did not lose either Okung or Chancellor to their injuries. And they can hope the well-timed bye week helps them recover.