COMMENTARY | As the Seattle Seahawks are finally getting over a rash of injuries along the offensive line, the team is suffering some blows on the defensive side of the ball.
Linebacker K.J. Wright left Sunday's game vs. the San Francisco 49ers, and was visibly agitated on the sideline. It was later revealed that Wright had broken a bone in his right foot, undergoing surgery on Dec. 10.
The healing time for the injury is typically four to six weeks. Best case scenario, that puts Wright back in the playoffs, and he could be out until the Super Bowl if Seattle were to make it that far, or even the rest of the year.
Wright has appeared in nearly every game since being drafted in the fourth round in 2011, playing very well in the outside linebacker position. He had recorded 80 tackles in 2013, third on the team behind Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner.
Dec. 2 against the New Orleans Saints, Wright had possibly the best game of his career. He shadowed star tight end Jimmy Graham effectively all night long, holding him to just three catches, possibly the biggest reason why the Saints only managed seven points. If New Orleans were to return to Seattle for a possible playoff game and Wright could not play, it could become a major area of concern.
Malcolm Smith will likely take over at outside linebacker for Wright. Smith is a very good player and has played often this year, starting four games. O'Brien Schofield, an intriguing speedy edge rusher, will also get more time in the rotation. Much like when Byron Maxwell had to step in for the suspended Walter Thurmond and injured Brandon Browner, it isn't a question of the quality of on-field play decreasing, but the Seahawks' defensive depth being challenged.
Depth is a big factor come the NFL playoffs. Wright's injury isn't one that is going to derail a season, and Smith will play well in his stead, but it leaves the Seahawks thin at another defensive position
Nathaniel Reeves is a lifelong Seattle sports follower who is studying journalism at the University of Washington. He currently covers sports for The UW Daily and Sports Out West.
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