Hasselbeck expecting final clearance for back

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

TAMPA, Fla. -- Six Seattle-area doctors have given Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck the go-ahead to return from a back injury. Just to be safe, Hasselbeck will see a seventh specialist, Los Angeles-based Dr. Bob Watkins III, for what he expects to be final clearance.

The meeting with Dr. Watkins is scheduled for next week or the week after. Results from a recent MRI exam suggest the back is better than expected.

"We did a third MRI at the end of the year, making sure it wasn't worse, and it was much better than we thought it was," Hasselbeck said. "It's all good news."

Hasselbeck has been rehabbing in Vancouver, B.C., to strengthen his core muscles, thereby providing better support for the back. He missed nine games last season.