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.”