Earl Thomas has had his labrum surgery, but team officials say he should be back for the start of the 2015 regular season.
Safety Earl Thomas has played — and started — in every game for the Seahawks since coming to the team in 2010.
And that streak of 80 consecutive regular-season starts is expected to remain intact in 2015 despite Thomas having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder Tuesday.
Thomas suffered the injury during the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay and played through it in the Super Bowl loss to New England.
The surgery typically requires a rehab period of six to eight months. Seattle’s first regular-season game next season will be no earlier than Sept. 13 — roughly six months and three weeks from Thomas’ surgery.
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And the team believes that will be enough time for Thomas to rehab surgery to repair the torn labrum, which is a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint.
Both coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said last week at the NFL combine that they expected Thomas to be ready for the start of the regular season, though he could miss some of training camp and some preseason games.
“It’s a normal procedure, so he should do well,’’ Schneider said.
Asked about Thomas’ availability for training camp, Schneider said: “We are going to monitor him and make sure we do what’s best for the long term. He is going to be fighting and scratching to be out there as soon as he can, but we just don’t know where we will be.’’
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, an orthopedic surgeon at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles who has performed surgeries on athletes such as NBA player Kobe Bryant and baseball pitcher Zack Greinke, said there’s no reason Thomas won’t be back for the start of the season.
“I think it would be reasonable to think he would be ready by the beginning of the season,’’ ElAttrache said.
“Usually with a typical labrum repair, especially for a football player, a contact-collision sport, generally we like to wait at least six months. Sometimes they try to come back a little sooner, and some guys can come back a little sooner. But about six months is what we aim for. We’ve had a lot of guys in the NBA go back much sooner. But football, especially at that position, is a little different. You probably want as much healing as you can get.’’
Thomas is one of two members of the secondary who is assured of having surgery this offseason. The other is cornerback Jeremy Lane, who is having surgery to repair an anterior-cruciate-ligament tear in a knee on the same Super Bowl play that he suffered a broken arm. Lane is not expected back for the start of the season, because ACL tears typically taking nine to 10 months to rehab.
Carroll said at the combine that cornerback Tharold Simon will continue to have his shoulder examined and implied he might need surgery.
Schneider and Carroll said safety Kam Chancellor (knee) and cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow) will not need surgery.
Thomas’ backup last season was DeShawn Shead, who is an exclusive-rights free agent, meaning the team must make him a contract offer by the start of the free-agency period March 10 or he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Shead played the four snaps Thomas missed in the NFC title game after injuring his shoulder.
Steven Terrell was listed third on the depth chart at free safety. Terrell is under contract for the 2015 season.
Jeron Johnson, the team’s backup strong safety, also can play free safety and is an unrestricted free agent.
Eric Pinkins, a 2014 sixth-round draft pick who sat out last year, also plays safety.