RENTON – Percy Harvin left no doubt that he will play in Seattle’s playoff game Saturday.
“Absolutely,” he said.
So did his coach.
“Percy’s playing,” Pete Carroll said.
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Harvin will play for just the second time this season when the Seahawks meet the Saints at 1:35 p.m. Saturday. Harvin said he thought he might not be able to return this season. So did Carroll, who told 710 ESPN Seattle last Monday that Harvin was likely to go on injured reserve.
But Carroll met with Harvin later that day and told him a decision had to be made. Either he played or he would go on IR.
“I just looked at him and said, ‘Coach, I’m ready to play ball,’ ” Harvin said.
Still, Harvin had to make it through two weeks of practice without any setbacks. Carroll said Harvin won’t have any limitations against the Saints, and Harvin said he will return kicks.
Harvin’s season has played out in a series of extremes: from the highs of his signing to the disappointment of his hip injury before the season, and the excitement of his return against Minnesota along with the frustration of another setback.
“Being out there for a couple days and going to sleep not knowing if I was going to wake up the next morning and it was going to be swelled up — it got really frustrating,” Harvin said. “And I know for the organization it was frustrating too, knowing I could practice one day and maybe not practice the next day. It was frustrating for a lot of people, but my hat’s off to this organization just for staying patient with me. I’m just ready to make it all pay off.”
His return provides Seattle’s offense with the potential for an explosive play at any moment, like his 58-yard kickoff return in his only game with the Seahawks.
As teams have been able to kick the ball deeper in the end zone, Harvin’s ability to return kicks might be even more important.
“Percy Harvin has been kind of famous for returning balls as deep as he can get it,” Carroll said earlier this season, “but he’s one of the best there is at doing it. Few guys can live that way.”
Harvin said he knew during the game against Minnesota on Nov. 17 that something wasn’t right with his hip. He hopped on a stationary bike a few times along the sideline during the game, trying to loosen it up.
But he couldn’t make it back to practice the following week and said he had two or three setbacks along the way.
Harvin said he had problems with swelling, stiffness and fluids in the hip. He still has some doubt about how his hip will hold up, but he expects that feeling to go away by kickoff on Saturday.
“I’m just going to cut it loose,” he said. “I made all the cuts and did all the things in practice that I could possibly do in a game. I felt no limitations and no swelling came, no setbacks. I’m going to go out there and give it all I have.”
Willson to play
Seattle’s injury report for the game ended up being as short as any all season, as Carroll said Thursday that tight end Luke Willson would also be able to play.
Willson was carted off the field in the regular-season finale against the Rams with what the team initially feared was a broken leg.
It turned out to be a sprained ankle, and Willson was able to practice this week.
Carroll said he was “a little bit surprised’’ that Willson rebounded so quickly.
“Something happened because they checked him out right off the bat and he looked like he had a broken leg,” Carroll said. “And they checked him out again that night and he didn’t. So all I can tell you is it was remarkable, whatever happened in there. He jumped right back and he had terrific work, and he’s ready to play.”
• Also ready to play is safety Kam Chancellor, who sat out Wednesday’s practice with a hip injury but practiced Thursday. Of the players on Seattle’s 53-man active roster, the only player not expected to be able to play is linebacker K.J. Wright, out since the Dec. 8 game at San Francisco with a broken foot. There remains a chance Wright could play in future games if Seattle advances.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff reporter Bob Condotta contributed to this article.