Seattle coach Jim Mora announced Tatupu would miss the rest of the season and need surgery following Seattle's 27-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Tatupu, a three-time Pro Bowler, appeared to get hurt while tackling Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald late in the second quarter. Tatupu walked off holding his left chest area and with his left arm appearing limp.
"The Lofa thing is tough. It's a blow to our team. It's a blow to him as a man. He's such a competitor, he loves to play," Mora said. "This is such an important part of his life and I don't know if he's ever experienced anything like this, at least this early in the season. It's going to be tough on him."
While most of Seattle's injury problems have been on the offensive side, and specifically the offensive line, Tatupu's injury is a big loss for a defense that has posted two shutouts this season, but was also picked apart by Arizona on Sunday.
Two team doctors and three trainers attended to Tatupu briefly on the bench. A doctor pressed on Tatupu's shoulder, and the linebacker reacted with a painful jerk. A physician then escorted Tatupu into the locker room. He returned to the field in the second half wearing sweats.
Despite not playing in the second half, Tatupu still had a team-high eight tackles against the Cardinals. Second-year linebacker David Hawthorne took Tatupu's spot, the second time this season he's filled in for the Seahawks defensive captain. Hawthorne played nearly two full games after Tatupu was slowed with a hamstring injury.
"Hawthorne has showed he can fill those shoes. I'm going to make sure to have his back and if he needs me all he has to is keep his ears open. I'm going to be right there for him," Seattle safety Deon Grant said. "We'll be all right. We're going to miss Lofa big time because he's more than a leader on this defense. He brings a lot of passion."
Along with Tatupu's loss, Seattle played the second half without defensive end Patrick Kerney after he aggravated a groin injury. Mora said Kerney was injured on the final play of the first half and couldn't go in the second half. Kerney had a pair of sacks and a forced fumble before being sidelined.
The two-time Pro Bowler was first injured on Oct. 4 at Indianapolis, then missed last week's win over Jacksonville.
Seattle was without four other starters again on Sunday. Entering the weekend, 12 starters had missed at least one game due to injury this season.
But the Seahawks get their bye next week and are hopeful of having a number of starters -- offensive linemen Sean Locklear and Rob Sims, and linebacker Leroy Hill -- back when they play on Nov. 1 at Dallas.
"Fortunately we've got guys who can step in and play and we've got good leadership on this football team," Mora said. "There are some veterans that will accept this challenge and will work hard to get us out of this spot that we're in."