Last Sunday against the 49ers, Matt Hasselbeck suffered a fractured rib after absorbing a monstrous blow from linebacker Patrick Willis.
Everyone is well-aware of the injury by now; Hasselbeck’s fractured rib has been the primary topic since the Seahawks departed San Francisco. Initial diagnosis has the quarterback missing at least some time, although there is still a possibility he’ll play this weekend against Chicago.
But even the most optimistic fan is aware of Hasselbeck’s injury history and concerned about how even the slightest damage can affect the rest of the season.
When Hasselbeck first dove at the end zone against the 49ers, the first thing I noticed was the atrocious hit applied by Patrick Willis just shy of the goal line. And once the coverage showed Hasselbeck grimacing in pain while slowly standing up, I knew there was something wrong. The air left the room.
Even before the cameras caught Hasselbeck collapsing near the sidelines, he looked to be in more pain than ever. The prognosis wasn’t looking good.
And then the flurry of text messages came through. Some pessimistic, claiming the season was lost. Others angry, condemning Matt’s decision to scramble for a touchdown.
To be optimistic, Hasselbeck only suffered a fractured rib, and apparently did not aggravate his back injury from the previous year. A fractured rib is painful, but he should be able to return in a few weeks.
And how are you going to be angry at a competitor for trying to make a play on the field? In hindsight, Hasselbeck probably would have got down earlier or thrown the ball away. But in the heat of the moment, you can’t expect a competing athlete to do anything less.
There is no reason to condemn the best quarterback in franchise history. Hasselbeck is a fierce competitor and is as tough as they come.
Barring any setbacks, he’ll be back on the field soon. And to suggest that the Seahawks would be better off with a different quarterback on the field is just ignorant.
Fair-weather fans who claim Hasselbeck is “fragile” or “weak” don’t understand the weekly beating absorbed by NFL players.
Some folks think that Hasselbeck is unable to endure an entire NFL season anymore; that assumption couldn’t be more inaccurate. He missed nine games last season, plagued by a bulging disk in his back. But in 2007, Hasselbeck didn’t miss one start and threw for nearly 4,000 yards. He missed four games in 2006 with an injured right knee, but played the entire season the year before.
And don’t forget about the games Hasselbeck played with existing injuries.
Like when he injured his ribs against Detroit in the 2006 season-opening victory and played the next week.
Or that same year, when he suffered broken index and middle fingers on his non-throwing hand in late November. Hasselbeck played the rest of the year with a glove covering his hand.
What about the torn labrum that Hasselbeck suffered when the Seahawks lost to the Packers in the 2004 playoffs? He didn’t have the shoulder surgically repaired until 2007.
There are several other injuries, both minor and major, Hasselbeck has endured through his career in Seattle. Some injuries have caused him to miss time, but he has played through most of them.
Matt Hasselbeck is a warrior. He is tough. Sometimes, the injuries are too much and require him to miss time.
But if the doctors give him any sort of clearance, he’ll be out on the field this Sunday.