After taking down the New England Patriots on Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks sit at 6-2 and occupy first place in the NFC West. Normally, that statement wouldn't be a surprise. The Seahawks are really good at football, and have been for the past four seasons under head coach Pete Carroll. But considering the avalanche of injuries the 'Hawks have been hit with this season, 6-2 feels a little like a miracle.
Stud defensive lineman Michael Bennett did not play against the Pats, missing his third straight game after undergoing knee surgery. Safety Kam Chancellor did play, and he had missed the previous four games dealing with a lingering groin injury. Thomas Rawls, who was expected to transition into the starting running back spot after Marshawn Lynch's retirement, fractured his leg in September and hasn't appeared in a game since Week 2. His replacement, Christine Michael, fought a hamstring injury all week and barely played against the Pats.
That's a lot to deal with, and we haven't even mentioned the worst part: quarterback Russell Wilson has endured multiple leg injuries himself.
Wilson was dealing with pain after the first week of the season when he suffered a right ankle sprain after getting stepped on by Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh during a sack. That didn't stop Wilson from playing the following week, but in Week 3, he sprained the MCL in his right knee when he was brought down awkwardly by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Eli Harold.
Still, Wilson refused to sit out a game, even though his mobility and overall quarterbacking ability were somewhat compromised. From Week 5 through Week 7, Wilson didn't throw a single touchdown or run for more than 7 yards. But behind the scenes, he was engaging in a furious rehab regimen that didn't even allow him to get much sleep.
After Wilson's Week 1 ankle sprain, his personal rehab specialist, Drew Morcos, moved in with him for an entire week so Wilson could receive around-the-clock treatment to get his ankle ready for Week 2. Again after Week 3, Morcos was back at Wilson's house to help the quarterback recover from the MCL sprain.
Their schedule was pretty intense.
Wilson said he would rehab for most of the day, hop in bed around 1 a.m., then wake up at 3 or 4 to ice his leg. For those of you who struggle with math, that's a solid 2-3 hours of sleep a night, all week long.
Hard Work Pays Off!#NoTime2Sleep
See you in LA.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) September 12, 2016
"Drew's a movement specialist," Wilson told the MMQB. "So I was pretty much keeping it moving all week. I'm on a bike, or I'm doing one-legged squats. I'd go to bed maybe at 1, then wake up super early to do more icing around 3 or 4."
Wilson and Morcos have been working together for two seasons, so Morcos has a good idea about the type of treatment that works best for Wilson in terms of recovery.
"We do stuff all through the day, through the night just to really help the healing process," Morcos told ESPN. "We only have a week between games. If this was just another person who was able to miss a couple weeks, the night treatments and all that wouldn't be so necessary."
Wilson spent most of his time this off-season working to prolong his career with trainer Ryan Flaherty. Wilson believes that training helped him avoid even worse injuries from both of the aforementioned hits. But his progress with Morcos is evident. In the last two weeks, he's gotten back to his usual self, throwing for a combined 630 yards, six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) and zero interceptions in two Seahawks wins.
To see Wilson bounce back so soon after multiple debilitating injuries is a testament to his non-stop rehab regimen and his willingness to sacrifice sleep for the good of himself and his team.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock