By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Pete Carroll has been asked about Percy Harvin’s status every day for the past five weeks since the receiver’s Seahawks debut.
On Monday, Seattle’s coach had the most definitive answer.
“Percy’s going to practice with us when we get back,” Carroll said, “with the intention of playing in this next game. We’ll see what happens. That’s the intention.”
Let the clamoring commence about the possibility that the team with the best regular-season record in the NFL might be unveiling Harvin for the playoffs. Emphasis on the word, might, though.
Percy Harvin has not played or even practiced since making his Seahawks debut in Week 11 against Minnesota. (AP)
“We’re going to see where it goes,” Carroll said. “It has come to the point where we can go to that. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for him. He wants to contribute and be part of this team, and he’s going to do everything he can to do that.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Translation: Nothing is certain about Harvin’s comeback just yet.
Remember, Harvin began practicing in Week 8 only to have his activity slowed down after his initial work. Then, after Harvin debuted by playing 16 offensive snaps and returning one kickoff in Week 11, he was unable to practice eight days later when the team returned from the bye.
He underwent treatment over the previous five weeks, receiving an undisclosed procedure believed to be a cortisone shot. He didn’t practice once in that time and was inactive for the final five regular-season games.
In fact, this week began with the expectation that Harvin very well could wind up on injured reserve, thereby ending his season. As recently as Monday morning on “The Pete Carroll Show,” the coach indicated that Harvin may need an offseason of work to fully recover.
So what changed by Monday afternoon?
“He’s going to practice this week,” Carroll said. “That has changed.”
Harvin, 25, was acquired from Minnesota in the offseason, the Seahawks trading their first-round pick this year as well as a seventh-rounder along with a third-round choice next year for the privilege of paying Harvin a top-shelf extension.
In exchange, the Seahawks acquired one of this league’s most dynamic young receivers, someone who was an MVP candidate the first half of last year before he suffered a high-ankle sprain, ending his season.
Harvin suffered a hip injury in the offseason, and underwent surgery to repair a damaged labrum. He has continued rehabbing over the past five weeks, culminating with a Monday workout that was encouraging enough for Seattle to plan he will practice on Thursday when the team returns after a two-day New Year’s break.
Seattle has a first-round bye in the playoffs and will host a divisional-round game on Saturday, Jan. 11, facing the lowest remaining seed in the NFC playoffs. That opponent will be New Orleans if the Saints defeat Philadelphia on Saturday. If the Saints lose that game, the Seahawks will face the winner of this Sunday’s game between the Packers and 49ers.
Whether Harvin is available for Seattle’s playoff game will depend not only on whether he can practice Thursday as the Seahawks are now hoping, but also how he feels after that.
“He had major surgery in his hip,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of people that walk around for years getting back from that, and he’s trying to do it in months. He’s not trying to just get back to being a normal human being, walking down the street. He goes a million miles an hour and throws his body everywhere, and he has to be perfectly fit to do that.”
After answering questions about Harvin’s status for the past five weeks of the regular season, Carroll and the Seahawks are about to get an answer about whether the receiver will be able to contribute to Seattle’s Super Bowl push.
“There was a time when I thought that maybe he wouldn’t have a chance to take the turn that he needed,” Carroll said. “Within the last month or so because I knew it was getting down (to it). He needs a couple of weeks. Now we have a couple of weeks and we’ll see what happens.
“Really, there’s no game plan here. There’s nothing behind this. We’ve got a young guy that’s trying to get back on the team and see if he can help his team win. We’ll see if it happens. There’s no strategy to this or anything like that. We’re just pulling for him, and if he can contribute, that will be great.”
• Seattle’s players will get Tuesday and Wednesday off before returning for practice Thursday and Friday.
• DT Brandon Mebane left Sunday’s game with a strained groin, but is expected to be able to practice later this week.
• TE Luke Willson has a high-ankle sprain and is the biggest question mark in terms of his availability for practice later this week.
• LB K.J. Wright will be evaluated next week as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot.