Russell Wilson will not wear a knee brace against the Detroit Lions in a wild card playoff game Saturday night. Wilson has worn a brace of some sort since at least week four after suffering a sprained MCL in week three against the 49ers.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson decided not to wear a knee brace for Saturday night’s wild card playoff game against Detroit, the first time since the first game of the season he will play without any sort of extra protection on his knee or ankle.
Wilson has worn some sort of brace on his knee since suffering a sprained MCL in week three against the 49ers, a 37-18 win on Sept. 25. He also suffered an ankle sprain in the first game of the season and had heavily taped ankles for a few weeks, as well.
Wilson said during his regular weekly press conference Wednesday that he was thinking about not wearing a knee brace for the first time this season and as he took the field in full uniform an hour before the game he was not wearing the brace.
“I don’t have to keep wearing it,” Wilson said Wednesday. “I’m contemplating what we’re going to do here.”
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Wilson had said several times during the regular season he planned to keep wearing a brace for a sense of security as much as anything else.
“My leg is good,” Wilson said Wednesday. “I think it’s just more a safety thing. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad or necessarily have-to (to wear a brace) or anything like that.”
Wilson’s ankle and knee injuries have noticeably slowed him throughout the season and resulted in a career-low 259 yards rushing on 72 attempts, a career-low yards-per-carry average of 3.6. Coach Pete Carroll has often cited Wilson’s injuries and lack of running as a reason for the team’s anemic rushing attack.
Wilson seemed still impacted by the knee and brace in the regular season finale against the 49ers when he several times seemed slower than usual escaping the rush and was held to four yards rushing on two carries.
Wilson, though, has shown some sparks of running ability this season, such as an 80-yard game against Tampa Bay on Nov. 27 on eight attempts, and 39 yards on three carries the following week against Carolina.
But Wilson was held to just 71 yards on 28 carries in the last four games as Seattle’s rushing attack also stagnated.
Asked this week about Wilson’s health, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said: “It’s funny, we look back at some earlier cut ups and we’re like, man look at that guy, he looks really fast and quick and moving. But you see it each and every day, so I don’t know if he’s 100 percent. He’s probably not running 4.4 like he did when he was coming out of the combine, but obviously he still runs well enough to be able to do the things we need him to do.”
Tonight figures to answer the question of how much the brace has impacted Wilson’s ability to run. The apparent decision to ditch the brace also speaks to the urgency of the playoffs. At this point, there is no reason to try to protect Wilson’s health or try to get him through to the following week. All that matters now is winning each week and it appears as if the Seahawks are getting ready to turn Wilson loose more than at any time this season.