The question is legitimate, because not only was Marcus Trufant’s injury unexpected, but not much has been released and fans are assuming the worst.
Trufant reportedly suffered a back injury at some point in the offseason, and was unable to practice when he reported to training camp. He has been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list since the opening of camp.
Trufant failed a physical earlier this week, and it was revealed that he has an injury similar to the one endured by Matt Hasselbeck last season. The team is confident that Trufant will play again this season, but will approach the injury with caution and won’t rush him into playing too soon.
From head coach Jim Mora, as quoted by Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times:
"“Because of the history that we have with backs here, we’re very careful.“It’s not anything that will need surgery. It’s good that we found this out now rather than in the middle of the season and tried to push him through it because now we can make some decisions how to move forward.”"
The team hasn’t been very specific about the injury, and very few details have been released.
We do know that it is a disk issue, however, and there is a very real possibility that Trufant could miss several games during the regular season.
Based on the limited information I’m aware of, I would guess that Trufant will remain on the physically unable to perform list when the season opens, making him ineligible until after the sixth week of the season. This is a best case scenario, of course, and assumes that Trufant will be completely healed and ready to go by then.
In Trufant’s absence, Josh Wilson has returned to the starting lineup opposite Ken Lucas. Although Josh Wilson has developed nicely as a defender, his strengths were most suited for nickel packages as the third cornerback. With Trufant out, Wilson has been “forced” into a starting role.
Depth is a minor concern, as reserves Kelly Jennings and Kevin Hobbs haven’t shown much through camp and the opening preseason game against San Diego. Veteran Travis Fisher was brought in to compete during Trufant’s absence, but it is unlikely that he’ll make an impact this season.
Assuming Trufant misses an extended period of time, the Seahawks may look to add another veteran. Just like the Walter Jones scenario, the personnel decisions made in the near future could be a telling sign of what the organization thinks of Trufant’s injury.
Even without Trufant, however, I think the Seahawks are confident in the players they have. The additional talent added to the front seven over the offseason should be able to protect the defensive backs through extra pressure on the opposing quarterback.
I have my fingers crossed that Trufant is able to return and contribute this season; when he is on the field and healthy, he is one of the better defenders on the team and an elite cornerback in the NFL.
Unlike Walter Jones, Trufant has youth and a short history of injuries that both improve his chances for a speedy recovery. The question isn’t really if he’ll return, but when.