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Costly Seahawks Acquisition Sidelined; Team Still Strong

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo

He cost the Seahawks a lot in trade treasure. Now, an injury could cost wide receiver Percy Harvin the season. He had hip surgery this week and is expected to be out for much – if not all – of the season.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains why this is a blow but not a death knell for the team. And he discusses reports there might have been warning signs about Harvin's injury.  

Seahawks Surprised

Percy Harvin had complained about pain in his hip in earlier training camps in May and June. But the team thought it was just a hip flexor strain, which heals with rest. Art said the Seahawks were surprised when Harvin couldn't practice on the first day of training camp last week.

"That was definitely a surprise - not only to the Seahawks but obviously the fan base," Art said. "The consequence is significant from the standpoint that they're losing a guy at least through December. The Seahawks are optimistic about December. There are other people who would suggest that this is going to cost him the season. We're not going to know for a while."

Should They Have Known?

A report by USA Today suggested Harvin had been looked at by specialists who said his body type (the way the femur connects with the hip) made him vulnerable to this type of injury. "Whether the Seahawks could've known or should've known is sort of the speculative controversy," Art said. "They didn't see it in the physical he had before his trade from the Minnesota Vikings in March."

Advances in Hip Surgery Save Careers

Advances in surgical technology are allowing athletes to recover from this type of surgery very fast. The arthroscopic procedure is able to repair the damage without a lot of invasiveness. "This doctor who operated on Harvin has successfully repaired torn labrums on many athletes who have returned to 100 percent capability," Art said. "It probably cost the season, but it doesn't cost a career."

Harvin An Expensive Luxury

It cost the Seahawks a lot in draft picks and dollars to get Harvin here. They traded their 2013 first-round draft choice, one of their three seventh-round draft choices and a 2014 third-round draft choice to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Seahawks gave Harvin a $67 million contract, $25 million of which is guaranteed.

"That's a lot of resources for the Seahawks to put into a guy who now (likely) will be out a season," Art said.

So, how will the Seahawks fare without Harvin? "I think they're going to do okay because Harvin was a luxury. He wasn't filling a need," Art said. "The Seahawks are returning all 11 starters from an offense that in the second half of the season last year was dynamite. They averaged 50 points a game in a three-game stretch in the regular season and did well in the postseason with a rookie quarterback."

"Getting Harvin was supposed to be icing on the cake," Art continued. "Without him they're still going to have plenty of quality guys back for a second run at this. Harvin would be an asset on kickoffs and punt returns but I think they'll be able to cover for his absence quite well. Not that it isn't a blow but it's not something that's necessarily going to kill their chances."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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