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DL Michael Bennett OK after suffering strained back

By Danny O’Neil

HOUSTON – Defensive lineman Michael Bennett left the field on a stretcher in the second quarter, and while he never went back on, the fact that he was back at the game might have been the most important comeback for the Seahawks on Sunday.

Michael Bennett returned to Reliant Stadium after leaving the field on a stretcher and being taken to a hospital. (AP)

“He has a strained muscle in his back,” coach Pete Carroll said.

Bennett fell headfirst toward Houston quarterback Matt Schaub on the play. Schaub was being hit simultaneously from behind by Seahawks lineman Cliff Avril, the resulting collision pushing Bennett’s head up at a severe angle.

Bennett remained face down on the field after the play.

“They were just really concerned because it was close to his vertebrae,” Carroll said. “They weren’t sure what it was so they took good care of him.”

Bennett had feelings in his extremities, but was taken to the hospital. He was back at the stadium by the end of the game, and in fact, concluded the postgame meeting for the team in the locker room.

“He broke them down for the end of the game – so he’s fine,” Carroll said.

After the game, cornerback Richard Sherman talked about both the difficulty of watching Bennett taken off the field and the boost of Bennett’s return.

“It’s hard on your heart,” Sherman said, “and I think just seeing him come back gave us a little spark that we needed.”