When Russell Wilson was wheeled into surgery Friday, multiple doctors believed he would miss at least six weeks.
But by the time surgery was finished on Wilson's fractured right middle finger, doctors believed the Seattle Seahawks star quarterback had a realistic chance to make it back in four weeks, sources told ESPN.
"That's now the hope and, depending on some other factors, that's possible," one source told ESPN this weekend.
The Seahawks and doctors agreed that a four-week timetable is a best-case scenario for Wilson, who suffered the injury in Thursday night's loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Wilson ruptured a tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand and suffered a fracture dislocation in Seattle's 26-17 loss. The eight-time Pro Bowler began therapy this weekend, and the Seahawks said Friday in a statement that it is "highly anticipated he will return to play later this season."
He will miss next Sunday night's game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, followed by home games against the Saints and Jaguars before Seattle's bye in Week 9. If his rehab and recovery go well, it's possible Wilson could return in Week 10 to play at Green Bay against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
But for the time being, Wilson's streak of 149 straight starts -- the longest by an active quarterback -- will be snapped; he hasn't even missed a single practice in his nine-plus seasons with the Seahawks. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only Peyton Manning (208) started more consecutive games to begin his career among quarterbacks since the 1970 merger.
Wilson has played through some notable injuries, including a sprained ankle and sprained MCL in 2016. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said "everyone was together" Thursday night in the decision to insert Geno Smith once it became clear that Wilson couldn't grip the ball well enough to throw it. Carroll was adamant Friday that Wilson's issue is not one of pain management.