RENTON, Wash .– As Russell Wilson was sidelined by the biggest injury of his career, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback’s toughest game to watch was the first he missed . Wilson wanted to break Brett Favre’s NFL record of 297 straight starts, but his own streak ended at 149 per week after injuring his middle finger on his pitching hand on Oct. 7.
A consolation prize for Wilson: easily beat the schedule for his return.
Wilson was first informed that he would likely be out for 6 to 8 weeks.
“I was not going to take 6 to 8,” he said Thursday in his first comments to reporters since the injury. “It wasn’t in my mind.”
Wilson’s goal was to cut that time in half, which he did by returning to training on Monday – exactly one month after his surgery. He’s on track to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, where the Seahawks (3-5) will try to win for the first time since 1999.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play every game I’ve been able to play and all the things I’ve been able to do so far in this league,” Wilson said. “I feel like it’s a new beginning, it’s a new beginning and I feel like it’s time to start over.”
Coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday Wilson was not limited in his return to training, another sign he is likely to play on Sunday. Wilson said he noticed his finger on his first practice on Monday and must have “crossed” it, but now feels good enough to make all the throws, if not all. quite back to normal.
“I feel good,” he said. “I feel really close. I’m not 100% yet, but I’m close enough. I would say 90th percentile if not higher. I feel great. I have a great belief in what I do, how I do it. do. My state of mind is better than ever. I’m ready to ride and ready to go. “
Wilson was injured when he hit his hand against Aaron Donald in the third quarter of Seattle’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. He suffered a ruptured tendon (mallet finger) , one dislocation and two fractures, he said. Thusday.
The next day, Dr Steve Shin operated on Wilson’s finger on what he called the most serious injury he had ever seen to the throwing hand of an NFL quarterback. The procedure included the insertion of a metal pin.
“I had four or five different opinions and everything and I knew Dr. Shin was the best at it and this is the place I wanted to go,” Wilson said. “He had a whole plan and he told me the plan. I said, ‘Okay let’s do it,’ I prayed about it, then the next thing I know, I woke up and I felt like I had a whole new finger. My finger was straight. It was no longer crooked and it was going left to right. “
At the time of the injury, Wilson believed his finger was just dislocated. When he didn’t come back up on the sidelines, he returned to the game and tried to play through the pain, only to come back after a streak. Geno Smith played the last quarter and started the next three games.
“I’ve played stuff before,” Wilson said. “I was always ready to… But also, I have great faith in Geno and in what he could too and he was such a good teammate, such a great leader in such a cool way. him. I think he’s a great player. I just knew that, you know what, it’s more important for us to have the best chances right now. So that was the thought process. “
The Seahawks lost to the Rams and in Smith’s first two starts – Pittsburgh and New Orleans – before beating Jacksonville hard before last week’s pass. In those three straight losses, they had a chance to equalize or take the lead in the last three minutes of regulation or overtime.
As part of his efforts to “break records” with how quickly he came back, Wilson said he was working on his hand “probably 19 to 20 hours a day” with the help of his physiotherapist, Amy Atmore. . He said being “surrounded by some of the best people in the world” has helped him come back sooner than expected.
Carroll said Wilson’s hand would need a few days to heal after the pin is removed. But he was throwing less than 24 hours after his release on November 1 as Seattle entered its week off.
“We have never stopped doing the job,” he said. “I was always lifting. I was still moving. I was still running. I was always preparing my mind. I was visualizing every rep, every defender, where the people would be and everything in between.”
This mental work included Wilson performing 2-minute ride simulations before games he missed – pretending to call and switch games on the line of scrimmage, rolling and throwing without a ball as he sped his way through. up and down path on the ground.
“It was a big part for me because I always believed that if you want to be good at anything, whatever the circumstances, whatever around you, you have to do whatever it takes to be good, ”he said. noted. “I think a lot of people choose not to because it’s the easy way, it’s the easy way. Maybe it isn’t the cool thing or it maybe not this or that. But when you love to win and the process of it all, you’ll do whatever it takes. I love the process. “
Wilson first threw with a glove on his right hand once his pin came out. He hasn’t needed a single time since, but said he might have to wear on a Sunday depending on the weather in Green Bay. Temperatures are expected in the 30s.
“The hand feels good, it feels strong,” he said. “… I’m ready. I’m ready to play and ready to help us win, do whatever it takes.”