Thompson and Fluker each should return to the starting lineup this week after having missed significant time in recent weeks.
D.J. Fluker says he’s ready to roll Saturday against Dallas after sitting out last week. Safety Tedric Thompson said the same thing.
We heard that, and more, in the Seahawks locker room Wednesday as Seattle continued preparations for its Wild Card playoff game against the Cowboys in Dallas Saturday at 5:15 p.m.
Here are highlights:
D.J. FLUKER SAYS HE FEELS ’10 TIMES BETTER’
Fluker, Seattle’s starting right guard most of the season, has played just one game since hurting his hamstring on Dec. 2 against the 49ers, that in a reserve role in the win over the Chiefs that clinched a playoff berth.
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Fluker had a good pregame workout last week and suited up for an eventual 27-24 win over Arizona, but the team decided to hold him out hoping he could be that much better for the game against Dallas.
Fluker says the plan worked.
“Oh shoot, I feel a lot better this week than I did last week,’’ he said. “Ten times better.’’
Fluker was hurt late in the win over the 49ers, replaced the next two weeks by Jordan Simmons, who then suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Ethan Pocic. Seattle then used Germain Ifedi last week at right guard with J.R. Sweezy also out.
Sweezy remains a “gametime’’ decision, and if he can’t play, Pocic will likely replace him at left guard once again.
But with Fluker back, Ifedi will move back to right tackle and the Seahawks will at least have 80 percent of their normal offensive line in place.
Fluker appeared visibly upset when he was taken off the field against the 49ers, and he said Wednesday he was initially expecting the worst — that he was done for the year.
“It was probably a more scared moment because when I felt whatever happened, I felt some little pop or whatever, so I was like, ‘OK this may be it,’ ’’ Fluker said. “But to go get the MRI and go get a full exam, I was OK, luckily. But I just had to take a little time out and rehab and get back, so it was something I could bounce back last week.’’
Quarterback Russell Wilson on Wednesday referred to Fluker shaking off the injury to play against the Chiefs when he was needed after Sweezy went down as indicative of the kind of perseverance the Seahawks have shown this season.
Fluker laughed when asked if it was hard to play in that game.
“Yeah I mean a little bit,’’ he said. “But it’s about how you approach it and how you go into the game. Do you want to go into the game and play hurt or do you go into the game like you’ve got some toughness to you?’’
BRADLEY MCDOUGALD SAYS NO HARD FEELINGS WITH AMARI COOPER
Dallas receiver Amari Cooper played what turned out to be his final game with the Raiders against Seattle in London — a 27-3 Seahawks win. He was traded the following week to the Cowboys.
Cooper wasn’t in the game long, knocked out via a hit from Seattle safety Bradley McDougald in the second quarter without making a catch.
The play did not draw a penalty, but McDougald was later fined $26,739 with the NFL stating in its weekly officiating video that a flag should have been thrown.
McDougald said at the time he thought the hit was clean but also that “it sucks that he had to get hurt and miss the rest of the game because that’s not our intent at all.’’ McDougald later took to social media to state “Prayers up to Coop!’’
McDougald said Wednesday he appealed the fine and got it reduced by $7,000.
He also said he doesn’t think the incident will have any impact on Saturday’s game.
“I posted a post to just kind of clear the air,’’ he wrote. “I don’t know him personally. I wished him well and that was about it.
“That was my first time being in that situation. I kind of just left it as a big hit. I don’t have anything personal toward this man. I don’t have any vendetta toward this man. Just plan to go to work.’’
TEDRIC THOMPSON SAYS ALL IS WELL
Free safety Tedric Thompson has missed the last two games with, first, a chest injury and then after that cleared up, an ankle injury.
But he said Wednesday he plans to play against Dallas, and his presence is more needed than ever with the news that Delano Hill is out for the year with a hip injury suffered Sunday. It’s expected that Thompson and McDougald will again team as Seattle’s starting safeties.
“I’m feeling good, ready to play,’’ Thompson said.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll referred to the chest injury as Thompson having fluid in his chest, something discovered during an exam of a shoulder injury.
While the injury was unusual, Thompson said he wasn’t too concerned.
“It wasn’t really scary,’’ he said. “The trainers were just doing their job and that’s really what it was. It wasn’t a scary thing.
“I mean, there was nothing I could do about it so I didn’t really overreact. I was just hoping that everything would be cleared. There wasn’t really too much I could do.’’
The chest issue cleared up last week, but Thompson was then held out with an ankle injury suffered in the loss against the 49ers on Dec. 16. That, too, is now healed well enough for him to play.
DOUG BALDWIN SAYS START OF PLAYOFFS IS ‘REFRESHING’
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin battled through at least a half-dozen known injuries this season while missing three games — the first he had sat out since 2012 — and being held to numbers far below those of the last four years, when he established himself as one of the best receivers in the NFL and maybe the best in Seattle history other than Steve Largent.
Baldwin’s 50 catches were his fewest since the 2013 season — which he began as a reserve behind Golden Tate and Sidney Rice — and his 618 yards the fewest since 2012, when he got just four starts.
A few weeks ago, Baldwin referred to the season as “hell’’ because of all of the injuries, which included significant ones to both knees, as well as two separate groin/hip injuries, one to his elbow and another to his shoulder.
But the start of the playoffs to Baldwin also means the start of a new season.
“It is a refreshing feeling in some ways,’’ said Baldwin, who has played in 12 playoff games in his career with six touchdowns. “The playoffs, to me it just starts everything over again. Your mindset starts over again. So everything that has happened in the past, put that behind us and focus on what we can control. And it is what it is in terms of injuries, but it doesn’t matter now. There are no more excuses. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. We’ve got four more games (the number Seattle would need to win to win the Super Bowl).’’