RENTON, Wash. —Seahawks nine-time Pro Bowl tackle Walter Jones will not return until at least November, if at all this season.
Coach Jim Mora said Wednesday the team has decided Jones will back off trying to return from two knee surgeries.
The 35-year-old anchor to Seattle's offensive line for the last decade will now be reassessed after the bye week, before a game at Dallas on Nov. 1. He came out to watch the end of practice while walking stiffly next to a team trainer.
Dallas was the site of Jones' last game, Thanksgiving Day. He played with painkilling injections in his left knee then had microfracture surgery to regenerate cartilage.
After a few practices in training camp, he had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in August. It still pains him.
Brandon Frye, who was released last month by the Miami Dolphins, will start again for Jones on Sunday against Jacksonville. Last weekend, Indianapolis' pass rushers sped around him throughout the Colts' rout of Seattle (1-3).
The team is hoping the next three weeks of rest will be enough for Jones to be ready for the final 10 games of the season. If he isn't, Jones may go on the injured reserve list. That would end his season and perhaps his career, given his age and the severity of his knee injury.
The Seahawks have not already put him on IR, and thus cleared much-needed roster space to deal with injuries at other positions, in deference to his status as one of the premier linemen in the league for the last decade.
Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who molded Brett Favre into a superstar in Green Bay, last year called Jones the best offensive player he has ever coached.
When asked if there was a date at which they would end Jones' season if his knee isn't ready, Mora said: "Yeah, but it's not firm.
"We're talking about a Hall of Famer. And so there's a lot of factors that go into it. What's best for the team? What kind of respect do you show for Walter, if Walter can get back? How long do we wait for him? What if we IR'd him and then two weeks later he was ready to go? Would you look back and just be sick about it?" Mora said.