Seattle tight end Luke Willson had what the team called "successful'' arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. It's unclear how long he is out, though, as he remains on the 53-man active roster.

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Seahawks tight end Luke Willson, who suffered a right knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 26-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons, had what the team called “successful” arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday.

It remains unclear how long Willson will be sidelined. Players can often return from arthroscopic surgery in a few weeks and the team did not put Willson on the Injured Reserve list, as it had done earlier in the day with defensive tackle Garrison Smith. Smith was placed on IR with the team re-signing defensive tackle Sealver Siliga to take his place on the 53-man roster. Willson Tweeted earlier in the day that he would be back helping the Seahawks “in no time.”

If Willson had been put on Injured Reserve then he would be out at least eight weeks. Teams can bring back one player put on Injured Reserve during the season after eight weeks — all other players are out for the year once put on IR. In the past teams have had to declare that player as being on “short-term” IR if they were brought back. Seattle has not done that yet — linebacker Mike Morgan remains the most likely candidate.

At any rate, for now Willson remains on the 53-man active roster, indicating he could be back in a few weeks or so (running back Thomas Rawls, who has not played since week two, also remains on the 53-man roster, as does RB C.J. Prosise, who has missed the last four games).

Without Willson for the immediate future, Seattle is down to three tight ends — Jimmy Graham, Brandon Williams and rookie Nick Vannett. Vannett missed the first four games with a high ankle sprain but is now back, playing three snaps — the first of his career — against the Falcons on Sunday. Vannett would be an obvious candidate to see more playing time with Willson out. The Seahawks could also add to the workload of Williams, who has played 50 snaps in five games this season, including 10 on Sunday.

Willson was injured on a play when Christine Michael scored a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, getting caught in the pile and with Michael running into his leg with Willson’s knee bending awkwardly.

Willson, a fourth-year player who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, has six catches for 50 yards this season.


The Seahawks on Tuesday also made one practice squad move, signing defensive tackle Justin Hamilton and releasing defensive end Sterling Bailey. Hamilton was in camp with the Seahawks and briefly was a part of the team’s initial 53-man roster before being waived and then later released off the practice squad. Bailey had been signed two weeks ago. Seattle’s practice squad remains at the maximum 10.