Seattle’s Obomanu won’t be slowed by injuries

Ben Obomanu’s hand is finally healed. All the stitches, both
internal and external, from the nasty gash sustained in early
December are gone.

It’s just in time for Seattle’s No. 2 receiver to deal with a
dislocated shoulder suffered last week against New Orleans. True to
his nature, Obomanu barely missed a quarter after having his
shoulder pop out against the Saints. He didn’t miss a moment of
practice this week either as the Seahawks prepare for the NFC
divisional playoff at Chicago on Sunday.

It’s part of his nature developed after spending years on the
fringes of making every Seattle roster during his five seasons in
the NFL, and has remained after he has finally taken advantage of
his opportunity to be a starter this year.

And that effort was rewarded. Just before boarding their flight
to Chicago on Friday, the Seahawks announced that Obomanu had
signed a new three-year extension.

”For being a seventh-round pick and having to go into training
camp each year and not having that luxury of missing time because
of a hamstring, because of a finger or shoulder or anything like
that, it’s just my mentality that’s what I’ve always had to do my
whole career,” Obomanu said this week.

Obomanu finished last week with five catches for 43 yards
against the Saints, but was targeted a team-high 11 times. The
numbers aren’t great, but the fact Obomanu even returned to the
game speaks to his character.

On Seattle’s second offensive series, and already in a 10-0
hole, Obomanu caught a short pass from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck
and dived to get the first down. Obomanu’s arms were outstretched
as he landed, just as New Orleans safety Roman Harper landed on his
back.

Obomanu’s right shoulder was briefly dislocated. He laid on the
field for a few minutes, then jogged back to the sideline.

By the time Seattle got the ball back, this time early in the
second quarter and trailing 17-7, Obomanu was already back in. He
was even thrown to on his first play back on the field.

”From there I just had more confidence throughout the game,”
Obomanu said.

This season has been by far Obomanu’s best. When Deion Branch
was traded to New England in October, it was partly because Seattle
wanted to give Obomanu a chance to start. He’s flourished in his
role, catching a career high 30 passes for 494 yards and four
touchdowns in the regular season, after having a total of 16
receptions for his career before the season began.

And it’s been one of his more trying seasons as well. Obomanu
was just emerging, catching a combined 10 passes for 246 yards in
consecutive games against the Saints and Kansas City in the regular
season, when he sustained a severe cut on his right hand.

The swelling still hasn’t completely subsided and Obomanu can’t
fully extend his hand. He needed internal stitches in his right
hand to keep ligaments held together and external stitches to
reattach the skin.

In total, Obomanu needed more than 20 stitches, but he won’t
need any work when the season is done. ”Maybe some cosmetic work,
if they want to make it look better,” Obomanu said with a laugh.
”But the function of it should be fine.”

Obomanu was slow to return from the hand injury, but his five
catches against the Saints tied his career high. And with the Bears
likely to pay plenty of attention to Mike Williams after what he
did in their first meeting, Obomanu could be a big factor on
Sunday.

”Different guys have emerged during the year and played some
significant roles in games, and then it’s shifted because some
other guys have stepped up,” Pete Carroll said. ”It’s been kind
of interesting to see how that goes. … Ben coming on like he’s
done has certainly helped us.”