RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is seeing a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Friday after injuring the middle finger on his throwing hand Thursday night in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Coach Pete Carroll, who described the injury postgame as a bad sprain, told 710 ESPN Seattle that the doctor will determine whether Wilson has what’s known as mallet finger and how that may impact his availability.
The Seahawks (2-3) have a mini-bye before playing the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Oct. 17.
“He’s getting looked at by an expert this morning and I’ll know more,” Carroll told reporters Friday morning. “I don’t know much more than last night. We’ve got to wait and see what they assess.”
Carroll didn’t know enough about the X-rays Wilson had postgame to comment on what they revealed, adding that he’ll likely get another X-ray in Los Angeles.
“But there’s something going on,” he said. “There’s definitely something going on and we’ve got to figure out what the extent of it is and what is the next step to deal with.”
With Wilson’s status for next Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh up in the air, his streak of 149 consecutive starts – the longest by an active quarterback — is in jeopardy. According to Elias, only Peyton Manning (208) has started more consecutive games to begin his career among quarterbacks since the 1970 merger. Wilson has played through some notable injuries, including a sprained ankle and sprained MCL in 2016.
“This is Russ at his finest in terms of competitiveness,” Carroll said when asked how Wilson is handling the situation. “He is doing everything possible to be ready to take advantage of whatever is available to him. He’s tuned in. He’s focused. He was up all night working it. He’s already flying. He’s out of here to go see the docs. Everything has been done as fast and efficiently as possible. It’s looking ahead. Already looking to getting right and coming back. That’s how we’re talking about it and I know that he’ll maximize whatever the timeframe is. He’s going to do a fantastic job doing whatever he’s up against.”
Wilson was injured in the third quarter when his hand banged against Aaron Donald’s arm just as he released a deep throw. The broadcast showed the tip of Wilson’s finger unnaturally bent downward. He was examined for several minutes on the sideline by the Seahawks’ team doctor and members of their athletic training staff, who watched Wilson grip a football and then bandaged his finger.
Wilson returned for one series, throwing a short pass on a three-and-out, then was replaced by Geno Smith for the remainder of the game.
Carroll said “everyone was together” on the decision to insert Smith once it became clear that Wilson couldn’t grip the ball well enough to throw it. Carroll was adamant Friday that it was more than a matter of pain management.
“Nobody should question his toughness,” he said. “Nobody should question his resolve. If he could have thrown a football and held onto it, he would have done it. Anybody that says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about. So you can deal with all kinds of stuff with your hands and you can still throw the football, and he tried last night and did not have … the control of the ball. So if he could have, he would have.”
Smith gave Seattle hope Thursday night with a touchdown pass to DK Metcalf, capping a 98-yard drive on which he went 5 for 5. He was intercepted on a throw to Tyler Lockett, who fell down, to all but seal the Rams’ win. Smith finished 10 of 17 for 132 yards.
“I thought Geno did a marvelous job last night,” Carroll said. “Geno’s been practicing with us for all this time and waiting for his opportunity if called upon. The patience that he’s show with us and to stay with it and his relationship with Russ and the coaches, he’s been impeccable. And when he went out, he executed like he can. He’s a very talented football player. He’s got a great arm, he’s got great sense and he knows the system really well.
“I totally trust that Geno can do this and I think you saw it last night in a really difficult situation – hurry-up, all that kind of stuff, he was really good at it. He really understands the system so we’ll be able to stay with the preparation and that’ll help everybody. Geno makes guys around him feel confident and feel comfortable and I thought that was a great showing.”
Before Thursday night, Smith’s only playing time since joining the Seahawks in 2019 was in mop-up duty. His most recent start was in 2017 with the New York Giants.
Carroll said Smith has the makeup required to excel as a backup quarterback despite rarely getting reps.
“It’s not the makeup that Geno would like to be proud of – that I’m really good at backing up – because everyone wants to be a great starter and I’ve always talked to him like that, that he is and that’s what he will be when the time comes,” Carroll said. “So now he’s going to get a chance and I’m thrilled for him.”
Tight end Gerald Everett has been cleared to return off COVID-19/reserve, Carroll said, after his requisite second negative test result came back overnight. He’ll practice Monday.
Running back Chris Carson‘s status remains unclear, according to Carroll. He was inactive Thursday night because of a recurring neck issue that flared back up this week.
“This is really a day-to-day deal with Chris,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to see how he responds. The short week just did not help him at all.”