By Brady Henderson
Update: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has confirmed that defensive end Chris Clemons has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the postseason.
The Seahawks may need to continue their playoff run without their top pass rusher.
Veteran defensive end Chris Clemons injured his knee during Sunday’s wild-card win over Washington, and according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the team fears it is an ACL tear.
From La Canfora’s Twitter account: “Clemons has telltale signs of ACL – looseness in joint and swelling with no pain. Seahawks figure this is the end of his season”.
Coach Pete Carroll still hadn’t seen the MRI results on Clemons’ knee when he joined “Brock and Salk” Monday morning, but said the team is “really concerned about that, of course. We’ll wait and see. We won’t know until later today.”
Losing Clemons would be a major blow to the Seahawks’ pass rush, especially considering how much their divisional-round opponent, Atlanta, throws the ball. Clemons led the Seahawks with 11.5 sacks during the regular season, his third straight year with at least 11 sacks.
The injury occurred during the third quarter when Clemons appeared to lose his footing on what was a sloppy FedEx Field turf. Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin replaced Clemons for the remainder of the game and recorded a sack in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks drafted Irvin to eventually replace Clemons at leo, a position unique to Carroll’s defense. The majority of his playing time this season has come opposite Clemons on passing downs, but Clemons’ injury may force Irvin into a starting role.
“Hopefully he can be back with us. If not, I’m prepared and ready,” Irvin told Jen Mueller on the postgame show. “Those guys believe in me and I won’t let them down. I’m going to go in and bust my butt the whole week in case Clem don’t play, and I’ll be ready and prepared next week.”
Signing a free agent is another option, one Carroll and general manager John Schneider have already started exploring.
They could be looking for a kicker, too, though Carroll said Steven Hauschka is feeling better after straining his calf during the game.
“We’re working on that. John was on the phone before we were on the plane last night trying to get leads on guys that are available and all that kind of stuff,” Carroll said, adding that any roster moves will be made by Wednesday.