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Shaun & Matt Retake the Practice Field

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The light at the end of the tunnel for injured Seahawks Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck no longer looks like a speck. At the very least, it's like one of those headlights you put on bicycles. For Shaun it might even be more like one of those emergency floodlights favored by serious outdoorsmen. The hardcore ones, with big diameters.

Have metaphor, will flail. Here's the deal: Gregg Bell of the P-I reports that Shaun and Matt got back to the practice field on Wednesday. Given the curve of recovery, indications are that Alexander's ready to get back in the game, while Hasselbeck -- in a slight confirmation of my nagging misgivings -- seems to be a step or two off the pace. Well, more like one big horse-size gait:

Alexander ran 11 plays with Seattle's first-team offense for the first time in seven weeks since breaking his left foot. The 2005 league rushing champion ran at less than full speed but showed no signs of any pain in a foot that remains cracked, according to X-rays taken this week...

On Wednesday, he sounded like he was ready to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. "Today was very successful," Alexander said. "It's all about what my foot can take. ... I think that's going to be the greatest test (when I ask for) 50 carries - which is probably what I will ask for when we get to Friday and I still feel good. We're still in a 'we'll see,' but today was good."...

Hasselbeck was limping on his sprained right knee by the end of the 25 San Francisco plays he ran with the scout team. He was sharp early on in practice. By the end, his deep passes were underthrown. His limp gradually became more prominent when carrying out fakes after handoffs. He also appeared to avoid planting on the leg while throwing...

"It's more of a strut than a limp," he said. "I thought today went very well. I feel like I'm on schedule. And I'm extremely encouraged."...

"The big question would be just getting tackled and getting bent up in the bottom of a pile like a pretzel," he said. "I don't know how you plan for that. ... There's only one way to find out on that for real."

You can safely assume Seneca's going to get that one last starting shot in San Francisco on Sunday, against one of the league's less imposing pass defenses.

This will cap off what I think will be recognized as one of the more quietly remarkable examples of an NFL staying afloat in the face of nightmarish midseason injury troubles. If Seattle leaves the Bay with a victory before returning to their stars against Green Bay, I think the Seahawk Commonwealth shouldn't underestimate the accomplishment. This'll be one of those classic "we'll look back on this and laugh" situations, except we will actually be laughing. Chuckling at the very least.

Sando has Sean Locklear and Bobby Engram on the "unlikely to play" list, and Robbie Tobeck on the "shrugging shoulders" list, for Sunday.