Stay patient on Percy Harvin's return

As almost everyone has heard by now, Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin -- the $67 million man who is expected to take the offense to unseen heights -- likely will practice (a relative term) next week.

Judging by the reaction from many people, one would think we are about to witness the second-coming of Jerry Rice, or at least a miraculously fast recovery from major hip surgery.

Calm down folks. Harvin is healing fast. He will be playing in a game soon, but maybe not quite as soon as everyone thinks.

Officially, Harvin could play in the next game on Oct. 28 at St. Louis on Monday Night Football. It’s possible, but probably a little optimistic for several reasons.

One, doctors say the healing process of a torn labrum surgery, like the one Harvin had on Aug. 1, is at least three months. That would make his return date Nov. 1 at the earliest. But we’re talking about someone who is going to get hit and tackled, at least some of the time, on the spot where the surgery occurred.

Is having him in a game situation less than three months after surgery really the smart move?

The Seahawks spent a huge amount of money to bring Harvin to Seattle from Minnesota. They gave up a first-round draft choice, also. They have an enormous investment in Harvin contributing to the team’s future success.

Do you risk all of that by possibly bringing him back too soon? The Seahawks are 6-1. They have a good chance at being 7-1 after the St. Louis game whether Harvin plays or not.

So taking it slow is the smart play. The first step is to get him back on the practice field.

“We’re counting on it,” coach Pete Carroll said Thursday night after the 34-22 win against Arizona. “He has a few big days here before we get started. If he makes it through these days OK, then he has a chance to start practicing on Tuesday.”

Since the Seahawks don’t play again for 10 days, Carroll is giving the team a rare four consecutive days off before getting back at it Tuesday. But that isn’t true for Harvin, who plans to run and work out at the team facility in Renton, Wash.

If he begins practicing on Tuesday, the clock starts for the Seahawks. They have three weeks from the day he starts practicing to make a decision about taking him off the physically unable to perform list and placing him on the active roster.

Just the fact the team is ready to add Harvin at practice, which likely will be on a limited basis at first, indicates they believe he can return by the middle of November.

And some Seahawks players are starting to think about it.

“He is one of the best football players in the NFL,” quarterback Russell Wilson said Thursday night. “He’s electric. The guy is so competitive. When he does come back, whenever that is, we’re looking forward to it. We can’t wait.”

Carroll was asked if Harvin will make the Seahawks a better football team.

“We don’t know that,” Carroll said cautiously. “But he’s a great football player and that’s why we went after him. We cherish him and we’re going to fit him in to help this team any way we can, which is exactly what he wants to do.

“We’ll grow with him. We’re not changing what we’re doing, but he will become a part of that when the time is right. I don’t know when that time is.”

No one does, not even Harvin. Will it be the next game? Probably not. The Seahawks coaches tend to be very conservative with bringing players back from injuries.

In Harvin’s case, we’re talking about the team's biggest investment. Seattle wants Harvin healthy and 100 percent for the late season-charge and the playoffs. Bringing him back for the eighth game of the season doesn’t seem like the sensible move.

Stay patient, Seahawks fans. Whether it’s one week away or one month away, Harvin’s day is coming.