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Alexander, five other Seahawks have operations

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The end of the Seattle Seahawks' season was more painful than originally thought.

The team announced Thursday that Shaun Alexander had surgery this week to mend the left wrist the 2005 league MVP broke in Week 1. Five teammates also had procedures to repair injuries sustained during Seattle's run to its fourth consecutive NFC West title.

Defensive end Patrick Kerney and left tackle Walter Jones, both All-Pro players, plus leading receiver Deion Branch and starting center Chris Spencer are next up for surgery.

The Seahawks, who lost last weekend in the divisional playoffs at Green Bay, said that Kerney and Jones will have shoulder operations next week. Kerney showed no signs of shoulder problems while finishing second in the NFL with 14 1/2 sacks this season. Jones, who turns 34 on Saturday, had been selected to play in his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl next month. He took practice time off to rest throughout the season and is having his shoulder repaired for the second consecutive offseason.

Spencer will have shoulder surgery and reconstructive thumb surgery on Friday. Spencer, who just completed his first full season as the starter following the retirement of Robbie Tobeck, practiced the last few weeks of the season without snapping the ball much to preserve the thumb, but he did not miss a game.

Coach Mike Holmgren said earlier this week that Branch will have surgery "soon" to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Holmgren estimated Branch will miss at least nine months, meaning he likely will miss the 2008 season opener.

"While they can come back and play, sometimes it's longer than that before they're really going the way they can go," Holmgren said of Branch's injury, sustained away from the ball early in the loss to the Packers.

Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure on the former Super Bowl MVP in Birmingham, Ala.

Alexander wore a cast and heard boos during his least productive season since he became the lead running back in 2001, but the Seahawks expect him to be fully healthy for next season. Alexander's last two seasons have been marred by a broken foot, the broken wrist and a sprained knee that caused him to miss three games in November.

"I think hurting his wrist this year really hurt him," Holmgren said. "Hearing some noises that usually are reserved for me, from the stands, may have affected him a little bit. He's human.

"He's got a couple years where he has gotten nicked up a little bit for the first time in his life. There's no reason to think he can't come back and be a very productive back next year."

Andrews performed arthroscopic knee surgery this week on backup offensive lineman Ray Willis. Also having procedures this week, all in Seattle: special-teams player Josh Scobey (broken left fibula), reserve offensive lineman Floyd Womack (right biceps), defensive lineman Baraka Atkins (left wrist) and linebacker Will Herring (arthroscopic surgery on his right knee).

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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