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Focus on: Russell Okung
Russell Okung will miss at least eight weeks after tearing a ligament in the big toe on his left foot, but at least the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl left tackle has a chance to return this season.
That was the word from coach Pete Carroll after practice Friday, when the team got in its last full workout for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at CenturyLink Field.
Okung was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return. The decision was made after Okung went to Charlotte, N.C., this week to get a second opinion from foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.
“It’s a six-to-eight week injury, and hopefully that will all work out right for us,” Carroll said. “He’s determined. He’s kind of excited about the fact that he has chance to get back this season, as we are as well.”
Under the guidelines of the designated-to-return rule, Okung can begin practicing six weeks from Friday. He will then practice for two weeks before he can return, which would make the Week 11 game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field as the earliest Okung could play.
“So we’ll just ride it out, see what happens and take good care of him and hopefully he’ll be able to make it,” Carroll said.
Okung’s injury is similar to the one center Max Unger got in the season opener in 2010, but not as severe. Unger missed the rest of the season.
“Russell has a shot to come back, and that’s obviously better than being put on (season-ending) IR,” Unger said. “So it’s awesome.
“It’s an extremely similar injury to what put me out for an entire year. So it’s cool he’ll be able to come back.”
With Okung out, Paul McQuistan will start at left tackle against the Jaguars and for the foreseeable future, with James Carpenter replacing him at left guard. McQuistan started the final four games in 2011 at left tackle because Okung was out with a torn pectoral muscle.
“We are very fortunate that Paul has so much experience that he can jump in there,” Carroll said. “The first thing that you worry about is communication and the continuity that goes on. So Paul will do a great job with that. He’s played all the spots in the past. We just didn’t have any time to prepare him last week.
“But now that he has a week under his belt and he knows the game plan that will help us.”