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Originally published Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks' Lofa Tatupu, Marcus Trufant to play with injuries

Injuries have beset the Seahawks not only on offense but now on defense, with Marcus Trufant and Lofa Tatupu having to wear protective devices over their injured hands Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Look at all of the injuries that have hit the Seahawks, and one wonders just how they are going to be able to get through Sunday's game against San Francisco.

Earlier this week, it was injuries to the offense that forced Seattle to sign two free agents, Billy McMullen and Samie Parker, and to reduce its roster to four running backs with the injury to Maurice Morris and the release of Justin Forsett.

The epidemic has spread to the other side of the ball. Starting cornerback Marcus Trufant has a cracked bone in his left hand, coach Mike Holmgren said Friday, and will have to play with a protective device over the hand this week. Also, starting linebacker Lofa Tatupu was to have his bruised right knee drained Friday, as the fluid buildup limited his flexibility. He will play Sunday with a cast for his banged-up right thumb.

Trufant was injured in a collision in practice Thursday.

"I did it before. I played with a cast in college," Trufant said, referring to a time during his junior year at Washington State. "Injuries come and they go, but if you got to cast it up, that's what you have to do."

Wide receiver wildness

Seahawks wide receiver Bobby Engram said he's never seen one position take such a hit with injuries as the Seahawks' wide receivers have.

"This is pretty bizarre," Engram said. "It's going to test our resolve, but we've got a resilient group of guys here and we're going to be fine."

Engram is out with a broken right shoulder that is healing but hasn't yet allowed him to practice. Deion Branch is practicing but not ready to play as he returns from knee surgery. Ben Obomanu and Nate Burleson are out for the season with injuries. That leaves the Seahawks with two second-year players, Logan Payne and Courtney Taylor — both will start Sunday, coach Mike Holmgren said — and McMullen and Parker.

"They're trying real hard," Holmgren said of McMullen and Parker. "I realize what we're asking them to do, it's hard."

The Seahawks might also work backup quarterback Seneca Wallace into the mix after he practiced at the position, and have until today to decide whether to sign rookie Michael Bumpus from the practice squad.

The need for a punt returner could factor into the Bumpus decision, but that evoked memories of a day in training camp when Bumpus dropped three punts.

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Bumpus saw time in practice with the offensive starters.

"I didn't have any assignment errors," Bumpus said. "I felt like I put myself in a pretty good position."

But the absences of veterans are still felt.

"The toughest was losing Nate for the year," Engram said. "I thought Nate was really primed to have a big year for us."

Burleson suffered a torn left ACL last Sunday at Buffalo.

Branch practiced all week, including team drills, but remains doubtful for Sunday as his rehabilitation from knee surgery continues.

"He is improving. He's feeling better about things," Holmgren said. "I can't say we took a giant leap forward this week, but he did practice a little bit, which is a good sign."

Notes

• Two Seahawks who hail from the Houston area expressed concern for friends and family with Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Gulf Coast region of Texas. LB D.D. Lewis and DT Red Bryant said their families have evacuated the area. DT Rocky Bernard and RT Ray Willis are also from near Houston. There have also been evacuations from DB Jordan Babineaux's hometown of Port Arthur, Texas.

• RT Sean Locklear is doubtful because of knee pain. Willis will likely start again in his place this week.

Floyd Womack will start at right guard Sunday for Rob Sims, who is out for the season. Womack played some right guard for the Seahawks in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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