In a season when the Seattle Seahawks are barreling along toward a probable NFC West title and a likely top seed in the NFC playoffs, not much has gone wrong for the team.
The health of wide receiver Percy Harvin has been one of the few exceptions.
As frustrating as Harvin's balky hip might be, it's important that in Seattle's zeal to get Harvin on the field, the team doesn't make a shortsighted mistake.
After making his Seattle debut two weeks ago against the Minnesota Vikings, Harvin sat out Monday night's big showdown with the New Orleans Saints due to pain in his surgically repaired hip. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, there's a real chance that we won't be seeing Harvin back on the field for some time:
#Seahawks are waiting to see how Percy Harvin (hip) responds to cortisone injections. Holding him out until the playoffs is a real option.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 3, 2013
It's understandable that the Seahawks and their fans would like to get Harvin back in action as soon as possible. After all, the team spent three picks, including a first-rounder, to acquire Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings back in March. Then they handed the 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year a six-year, $67 million contract that included a $12 million signing bonus.
At the time, the move was almost universally hailed as a great acquisition for the Seahawks. Fans and pundits alike drooled over what Harvin's game-breaking ability with the ball would add to the Seattle offense.
So far, things haven't gone as planned.
Harvin hurt his hip in camp, undergoing surgery shortly thereafter. Then came rehab and the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
He finally made it onto the field two weeks ago, but now his acrobatic catch and long return against his old team look more like a cruel tease than a sign of things to come.
However, at this point Harvin and the Seahawks need to step back, take a deep breath and just be patient for a number of reasons.
Harvin's toughness was questioned while he was a member of the Minnesota Vikings and he doesn't want that label slapped on him to start his tenure with the Seahawks, so he's taking the injections and undergoing the procedures to play through the issues that are nagging him -- problems that are arising because he might have come back too soon.
There's also more than just this season to consider, even in a year when the Seahawks are very much a Super Bowl contender.
The Seahawks aren't an aging team built for one last bite at the apple. In Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner and others, Seattle has a young nucleus that should have the team in contention in the NFC West for the long haul.
Will Percy Harvin play again in 2013?
If you think Harvin being on the shelf now is frustrating, imagine another injury-marred campaign in 2014, when Harvin's entire $11 million salary is guaranteed.
How the Seahawks handle this injury could be the difference between Harvin becoming a key contributor for the Seahawks over the next three years or a $70 million boondoggle whose contract hangs around the neck of the franchise like an anchor.
Finally, in case you haven't noticed, the Seahawks seem to be getting by OK without Harvin. They sure didn't need him while they pounded a nine-win New Orleans team into goo Monday night.
Seattle has no pressing need for a 70 percent Harvin on the field. In fact, it already has a player on the field who is 70 percent of Percy Harvin...his name is Golden Tate.
In order to best handle the Harvin situation, the Seahawks need to make him an island unto himself. The focus needs to be on getting Harvin right, not on getting Harvin back.
If Harvin doesn't see the field until the playoffs, so be it. If he doesn't play until 2014, then as distasteful as that may be, fine.
It beats the alternative, which is a lingering or chronic condition that continues to be an issue not only this year but next.
Think of it like this. You just bought a $70 million speedboat, but on the first cruise the boat develops a leak. You don't end up sinking that speedboat because you were too impatient to wait for the repairs to finish before going out on Puget Sound again, especially when you have other boats that are seaworthy.
At least, not if you have any sense.