Heaps: What makes Seahawks’ Russell Wilson’s finger injury so serious for a QB
The Seahawks didn’t just lose to the Los Angeles Rams 26-17 on Thursday, but they find themselves in a very unfamiliar situation due to the status of star quarterback Russell Wilson.
During the third quarter, Wilson’s throwing hand hit star Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Wilson injured his right middle finger.
After getting treatment on the sideline and throwing a few passes, Wilson went back out for one more drive. But after that three-and-out where Wilson had just one short completion, Wilson removed himself from the game and backup quarterback Geno Smith entered and played in the fourth quarter.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the initial diagnosis for Wilson is “mallet finger,” which is an injury that causes the tip of the finger to point down towards the palm and makes it hard to flex the finger overall.
During his visit with Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Wilson is heading to a finger specialist to check on the severity of the injury and to see whether he needs surgery as well as check how long he may possibly be out of action, which would be a first for Wilson in his NFL career, which started in 2012.
Just how important is the middle finger for a quarterback, and what does it mean for Wilson and the Seahawks going forward? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps shared his insight on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy Friday morning.
“The three most important fingers in terms of holding a football are your thumb, index finger and middle finger,” Heaps said. “With your middle finger, really it’s for control. When you’re talking about feel of the football and control and accuracy, your middle finger is a big part of that because it’s one of the last remaining fingers on the football. Ultimately, it’s going to be that index finger when you snap it and get that spiral, but for a long majority of the time, your middle finger is going to be part of that.”
So what happens if that middle finger is injured or compromised?
“It really gives you difficulty in maintaining accuracy of the football and if you can’t control it, you can’t play,” Heaps said. “As great and as talented as some of these great quarterbacks are, your velocity might still be the same and you might be able to possibly hold the football, but your control of the football is not going to be where you need it to be in order to perform at a high level. That is my biggest concern with Russell Wilson moving forward, not to mention how difficult it is to play with that and constantly having that thing getting hit and having to grip the ball. All those things factor into it.”
If the initial report of mallet finger is correct, Heaps said that’s a big blow to Wilson and the Seahawks.
“If the early prognosis really truly is mallet finger as it is being reported – and that is exactly what it looked like – you might be looking at a couple weeks and not just a week of missed time,” Heaps said. “I don’t know anything in regards to that information but I’m not going to come out Russell Wilson. If there’s anybody that is going to find a way to play and do it as quickly as possible it’s Russ. But it certainly is a very difficult injury to come back from when it comes to a quarterback’s perspective.”