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Friday in Hawkville: K.J. Wright to return for NFC Championship game

Posted Jan 17, 2014

After having surgery last month to repair a broken bone in his foot, linebacker K.J. Wright made what coach Pete Carroll called an “incredible recovery” and he will play against the 49ers on Sunday.


A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 17, when the Seahawks held their final full practice before Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: RIGHT. OR IS THAT WRIGHT?

It’s both, as K.J. Wright will complete an impressive comeback from having surgery last month to repair a broken bone in his foot by playing in Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.

And it seems fitting, because the Seahawks’ weak-side linebacker was injured during the Dec. 8 loss to the 49ers at Candlestick Park. But Wright practiced all week and is ready to return.

“K.J. Wright made it through practices and he’s going to play in this football game,” coach Pete Carroll said after Friday’s practice, which was conducted in the indoor practice facility. “And we’re really excited about that. It’s an incredible recovery to have the surgery six weeks ago and now he’s playing. So many people did well by that to get to here, and his mentality has been in play the whole time.”

Wright was the third-leading tackler on the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense went he was forced out of the lineup. Despite missing the final three regular-season games, Wright still finished fourth on the team with 80 tackles. Malcolm Smith stepped in for Wright and has averaged seven tackles the past four games, including a high of nine in last week’s divisional playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints.

What will Wright’s role be on Sunday? “You’ll see that when we get to game time,” Carroll said.

But just having Wright back gives the Seahawks’ defense another option against all the options the 49ers’ offense presents. 

INJURY REPORT: PERCY HARVIN WILL NOT PLAY SUNDAY

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

STAT DU JOUR: ON THE RUN

Only five teams ran the ball more than they passed it during the regular season, and have run it more than they passed it during the postseason. And only the Seahawks and 49ers are in both groups: 

Regular season
Team Run Pass Differential
Seahawks 509 420 plus-89
49ers 505 417 plus-88
Bills 546 522 plus-24
Jets 493 480 plus-13
Panthers 483 473 plus-10

Postseason
Team Run Pass Differential
Patriots 46 25 plus-21
Seahawks 38 18 plus-17
Chargers 58 43 plus-15
Packers 31 26 plus-5
49ers 64 60 plus-4

Out
WR Percy Harvin (concussion)

Questionable
DT Jordan Hill (groin)

Probable
RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related)
LB K.J. Wright (foot)

Harvin was not cleared to practice after getting a concussion against the Saints, so he will not play against the 49ers.

“It’s super disappointing for Percy,” Carroll said. “He wants to play. You could see it. He played his tail off when he had his chance. It’s just unfortunate circumstances.”

Harvin had hip surgery on Aug. 1, which limited him to one regular-season game. He returned against the Saints, but took two shots to the helmet in the first two quarters and the second one knocked him out of the game.

For the 49ers

Questionable
CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring)
RB Will Tukuafu (knee)

YOU DON'T SAY

“It’s the biggest game of my life, this year.”

Coach Pete Carroll, when asked if this was the biggest game of his life

Probable
LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist)
LB Ahmad Brooks (illness)
WR Michael Crabtree (wrist)
DE Demarcus Dobbs (knee/shoulder)
C Jonathan Goodwin (foot)
RB Frank Gore (knee)
LB Dan Skuta (foot)
DT Justin Smith (shoulder)

TWELEVE ELVES

YOU DON'T SAY

“Those guys want to be where we’ve been. Our mind is focused on something we got a taste of last year, which is the Super Bowl. We’re seeking something we haven’t gotten either.”

49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers

The players arrived Friday morning to see dozens of 12th Man flags – large and small – and other signs lining Seahawks Way and hanging from the fences around VMAC. Even the early rising Russell Wilson, as the team’s second-year quarterback arrived at roughly 5:45 a.m.

“That’s pretty spectacular,” Wilson said. “It just shows how amazing our fans are, how much energy this city has for our football team. That’s what we’re looking forward to. We want to bring something special to this city. To do it, we’ve got to play one play at a time and see what happens at the end of the game.”

UP NEXT: TITLE GAME EVE

The Seahawks will hold a walkthrough on Saturday morning, their final on-field session for Sunday’s game.

It was announced Friday morning that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will perform at halftime on Sunday.

“That’s an awesome deal for a kid who grew up here,” said Carroll, who introduced the duo at last year’s We Day celebration at Key Arena. “I can’t even imagine, 68,000 people going crazy for his wonderful talent. And he’s been with us for the last couple years. It’s a great celebration. So everybody’s going to have a good time.”

Well, almost everybody. “We won’t be among those who have that good time, though,” said Carroll who will be in the locker room with his players and coaches.