Hasselbeck Gets Second Opinion

After reports from several different sources intimating that Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck would have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder to repair a torn labrum, the News Tribune confirmed that Hasselbeck has decided to have the surgery after receiving a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews.

Andrews is known as the doctor who operated on the dislocated throwing shoulder of current Saints quarterback Drew Brees a year ago. Brees recovered, won the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2006, and has the Saints in the NFC Championship game.

The Seahawks signal-caller traveled to Alabama for the diagnosis. It is unknown whether he will have the surgery in Alabama or Seattle.

2006 was a rough year for Hasselbeck. He threw six fewer touchdowns and six more interceptions in four fewer games than in his great 2005 season. He was sacked 34 times, ten more than last season. Hasselbeck missed four games with a knee injury, played half the season with two broken fingers on his non-throwing hand, and suffered through the aforementioned torn labrum.

Hasselbeck has suffered from this injury since 2004, in a January playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. Opponents had sacked him 42 times during the 2003 regular season, a beating that ultimately took a toll. He rehabbed without surgery and enjoyed two strong seasons without complication.

The injury is not particularly serious from a long-term perspective given that Hasselbeck is a right-handed passer. But spending several months in rehabilitation would prevent him from working toward a better rapport with Deion Branch and Nate Burleson.

Either way, Hasselbeck is expected to be ready for training camp.

"This was a tough year for a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons," Hasselbeck said. "There was some good stuff and I think that you learn from the good and the bad.

"For me, I know that it wasn't the kind of year that I had anticipated having, but you learn from it. I have learned more from my mistakes than I have from my successes. There is plenty to learn from."
Hasselbeck was seeking a second opinion before making a definitive decision to repair the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Overall, the injuries did seem to affect his play. Hasselbeck tossed 15 interceptions, matching a career high despite missing four games.

"He can be as good as anybody there is in the league," coach Mike Holmgren said. "But that type of consistency that you see in great quarterbacks, that has to appear all the time.

"We're going to talk about it, he and I. ... By his own admission, I think he knows he had a better year last year. But he went through some things this year he didn't have to go through last year. And we were a couple throws away from playing this next week."

Injuries were definitely a factor.

"You appreciate what your teammates go through," Hasselbeck said. "I know of guys on our team that had the same injury that didn't get the attention or the sympathy that I got and they are playing positions like offensive line, defensive line, linebacker. It is part of this game; it is a violent game."

Personnel issues also affected Hasselbeck this season. The team added Burleson and Branch, who have yet to fully assimilate into the offense. The team also shuffled its offensive line, failing to settle on a rotation until late in the year.
Veteran center Robbie Tobeck, now retired, missed half the season with a hip infection. Second-year center Chris Spencer, a very talented player with a great deal of potential, needed time to get up to speed.

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