Seahawks' Spencer put on injured reserve with back injury

RENTON, Wash. -- Seahawks center Chris Spencer will miss the rest of the season with a herniated disk in his back, but he is hoping he can avoid surgery by resting.

Spencer became the 11th Seattle player on injured reserve in this lost season on Wednesday. Converted guard Steve Vallos will make his second career start on Sunday for Seattle (2-10) against New England (7-5).

Spencer said he kept playing through a bulging disk that began bothering him in training camp and caused him to miss all but the final preseason game. When quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had a bulging disk early this season, he sat out five games to rest it. But Seattle's first-round draft choice in 2005 took anti-inflammatory injections to start the first 11 games.

Then the pain and numbness down his legs become too much before last week's loss at Dallas.

"It was bad. I tried to go as long as I can, but when you can't start feeling your toes you've got to back off and take care of it," said Spencer, adding the herniated disk in between the L-4 and L-5 vertebrae.

He said doctors have prescribed rest for several weeks before they decide whether to have surgery that would remove a piece of the disk that has broken off. Surgery would keep him out six weeks, so Spencer said he should be fine for minicamps next spring.

Coach Mike Holmgren said starting left guard Mike Wahle also may end up on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Wahle, signed before the season as a free agent when Carolina released the two-time Pro Bowl player in a cost-cutting move, has missed the last two games after injuring the same shoulder he had surgically repaired in 2006.

Hasselbeck was sacked a season-high seven times last week in the 34-9 loss to the Cowboys, when veteran backup Floyd Womack started for Wahle and Vallos made his first career start.

Original starting right guard Rob Sims is on injured reserve and played only one game this season. Ray Willis is currently the third starter at that spot. And star left tackle Walter Jones is likely to miss most practices this week with a bad knee, though he is expected to start against the Patriots.