Drew Morcos was watching football at home with his family in Southern California Sunday when he saw Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson go down awkwardly in the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers.
"I saw it and played it in slow motion with the TV and extra slow motion just so I could see exactly what was going on," he said. "Kind of had a good idea of what it was going to be, just a matter of the severity of it. Right after I saw it, I got contacted by his people, and I started packing up."
Morcos is Wilson's personal physical therapist. He's worked with the quarterback for the past two years and has spent a lot of time in Seattle this season. When Wilson suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1, Morcos flew in.
Now that Wilson is dealing with a sprained MCL in his left knee, Morcos is back in town, staying at Wilson's house, and he'll be there all week.
Morcos works with the Seahawks' training and medical staffs to implement a rehab plan for Wilson. In some cases, that's meant Wilson waking up in the middle of the night for treatment.
"We do stuff all through the day, through the night just to really help the healing process," Morcos said. "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."
The focus has been on reducing inflammation, increasing Wilson's range of motion and strengthening his knee.
After he underwent an MRI Sunday night, Wilson immediately began treatment at home.
"The biggest thing is you don’t want to make it stiff," Morcos said. "The MCL is like a piece of string, and it attaches the two bones in your knee. So when you bend your knee, you’re actually lengthening it, lengthening the MCL. But when you’re straight, it’s shortening, so you don’t want to keep it straight for too long because then when you want to bend the knee, when you want to walk and have to lengthen, you get pain usually from just being in one position for a long time and then to another. So we did some stuff where he’s on the bike, we did some work there and some range of motion stuff and then the strengthening."
Wilson has a personal team around him that he leans on to try to achieve peak performance. One of his personal trainers, Ryan Flaherty, urged Wilson to focus on injury prevention and durability this offseason.
After Sunday's game, Wilson said he thought the work he had put in helped him avoid a more serious injury.
"I think a big part of it honestly, on that play, is just the idea of being mobile," Wilson said. "I think about that all the time, just all the stretch work, all the work that I kind of do in the offseason and all that, allows you to hopefully get out of that situation because it could have been worse. I’m just grateful. I'm grateful that I got to get up."
Morcos worked a lot with Wilson on flexibility and specifically his internal hip rotation.
"If you see him going down, if you play it really slow, he’s able to rotate his trunk over that leg and increase hip internal rotation," Morcos said. "Because of that, the hip was able to move enough to where the knee wasn’t very rigid and so it didn't cause as bad of damage as if he didn’t have rotation in his hip, mobility in his hip. ... I truly believe that the rotation, the mobility that we’ve been working on and gaining in his hip really did help it not becoming as bad as what people think from watching it."
Added Flaherty, "I think it was somewhat of a miracle he didn’t tear his MCL. I don’t think I’ve seen someone -- the angles that come out of something like that with only a sprain, I think even the doctors were amazed that he didn’t tear it.
"We talk about it all the time. The stuff we work on with them, the training we do, the flexibility work that [Drew] does with him, it’s all to prepare his body to go through that type of stress. We know he’s going to get hit. We know he’s going to get put in different angles. So when we work on increasing internal rotation of his femur and his pelvis, it’s to withstand injuries like that. It’s not a mystery. We know he’s going to get hit like that, so our job is to try prevent it from being catastrophic."
Pete Carroll expects Wilson to practice Wednesday and make his 68th straight start. A final determination will be made later in the week, and he'll likely rely on a knee brace for stability.
Said Morcos, "It’s all around the clock to get him ready."