Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that tight end Jimmy Graham actually has an ankle injury and it's unclear if he will play next week at Tennessee.
Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is battling a sore ankle and his status for Sunday’s game at Tennessee is uncertain, coach Pete Carroll said during his regular meeting with the media Monday afternoon.
“Got a sore ankle,” Carroll said. “Got to figure out what that means. We don’t know yet. Can’t tell you anymore. It’s too soon.”
That’s a different injury than Carroll said after the game Graham had sustained in Sunday’s 12-9 win over the 49ers. Graham briefly left the game after being injured on a play with 11:15 to go in the second quarter when he appeared to get rolled up on while trying to block for running back Chris Carson. After being examined on the sidelines he came back in and finished with 53 snaps, or 65 percent of the 82 total for the offense, a pretty usual total.
Carroll said after the game Graham had “banged” his knee and that “he was okay, I heard.” Monday, Carroll said he gave that answer because that’s what Graham initially thought he had injured. “His knee is fine,” Carroll said Monday. “It’s something in his ankle.”
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Graham, acquired in a blockbuster trade with New Orleans in 2015 for center Max Unger and a first-round pick (with Seattle also getting a fourth-rounder back) had just two targets in the game and caught just one pass for one yard, his lowest production as a Seahawk, and has just four catches for nine yards this season.
Carroll said the team wanted to get the ball to Graham more Sunday but that the 49ers simply made it hard. A pass in the first quarter to Graham was broken up by 49ers’ safety Jaquiski Tartt. Graham’s only catch came early in the third quarter.
“That’s not what we would expect to happen,” Carroll said Sunday. “He had some good chances today. They got him, hit him really good on a seam route and all that.”
Carroll said the fact that Graham played most of the final three quarters with an injury factored into his lack of production Sunday.
“It certainly did,” he said. “We had some stuff going to him early and didn’t hook up and then he was not 100 percent. But he finished and he did great job of doing that. But he was banged up.”
Injury or not, the one-catch game only added to what has been a heated debate since the day he arrived about how he is being used. Carroll insisted after the game that “it will be fine. I’m not worried about it at all.”
Monday, Carroll seemed a little weary of the topic saying simply “he hasn’t had many opportunities to do much so far.”
Another specific reason Seattle didn’t go a lot to Graham on Sunday, Carroll said, is that the Seahawks were emphasizing a short-passing game that was designed both to mitigate the impact of the pass rush as well as take advantage of Seattle’s speed and playmaking with its receivers on the edges. Those are not plays typically designed for Graham.
“We haven’t gotten a lot to him,” Carroll said of Graham, who officially has been targeted nine times. “Been a lot of short stuff that’s happened so far. Just the way it’s gone.”
Seattle only has three tight ends on its roster, the others being Luke Willson and Nick Vannett. Tyrone Swoopes is on the practice squad and could be called up if Seattle needed another tight end.
Carroll also confirmed that cornerback Neiko Thorpe, a key special teams player, has an ankle injury and could be sidelined for a while. He said Graham and Thorpe were the only players as of now who would be in danger of missing Sunday’s game but also said he is not ruling out either yet.
Earlier in the day on his radio show on ESPN 710 Seattle Carroll also said that cornerback Richard Sherman had been uncertain to play Sunday due to a hamstring injury until making it through pregame warmups. He said “99 percent” of players would not have been able to play with the injury Sherman had. Sherman played all 49 defensive snaps against the 49ers.