Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Wednesday finally confirmed what had been revealed Monday and had appeared likely on Sunday — running back Rashaad Penny will need surgery to repair an ACL injury.
Penny suffered the injury on the first series of Sunday’s game, after which Carroll called it a sprain.
Carroll declined Wednesday to go into much more detail about the injury other than to say that Penny will have surgery, during which doctors will look to see if there are other issues to clean up, as well.
“There’s some other stuff that they’ll look at when they get in there,’’ Carroll said. “They are going to do surgery. He will have surgery. He’s not going in immediately. They’re going to let it quiet down before they do that. It’s a long haul before we get him back. We’re going to take all the right precautions to make sure we start the process at the right time. They’ve got to get in there and find out what’s going on, but it’s an ACL damage mainly that they’re concerned with.”
Carroll wouldn’t give an ETA on when Penny will be available again, but any ACL surgery usually takes 9 to 10 months to recover from, which would push up against the start of the 2020 season.
That could impact decisions Seattle may make in the offseason concerning its tailback depth. Chris Carson has one year left on his contract but C.J. Prosise will be a free agent at the end of the year and the Seahawks have yet to give rookie Travis Homer a carry as a tailback (he has one on a fake punt).
How Prosise and Homer play in the final three games (plus a hoped-for playoff run) could go a long way toward dictating what Seattle might do to add tailback depth in the offseason as well (with re-signing Prosise always a possibility, despite his vast injury history).
The Seahawks made one move Wednesday to add some tailback depth in the system, signing Xavier Turner to the practice squad. The rookie from Tarleton State was with Seattle throughout the preseason and had 71 yards on 17 carries, including 42 on 13 in the preseason opener against Denver after having been signed the day before the game.
While Penny is out for the year, he remained on the 53-man active roster as of Wednesday. But Seattle is likely to put Penny on IR later this week, which would open up a roster spot for offensive lineman Ethan Pocic, who is expected to come off IR this week. Pocic was designated to return to practice on Thanksgiving, and Seattle has a three-week window, which ends this week, to promote Pocic or leave him on IR.