RENTON, Wash. -- For the first time since the middle of November, the Seattle Seahawks saw No. 11 on the practice field Thursday.
Whether Percy Harvin gets back on the field for Seattle in time for its divisional playoff game on Jan. 11 will be closely watched over the next week. But at least one important teammate thinks Harvin's time to return has come.
"He's ready to go I think. But we'll see. You've got to listen to the trainers and coach (Pete) Carroll and see how he's feeling," Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said after Thursday's practice.
"That just adds another element to our game. If we can add Percy Harvin he's explosive as can be. He has a great knack for the game. He's very physical, loves to just to make big-time plays. If we can get him out there that will be great if that's the case."
Harvin was not available to speak about his return and the team was not required to submit an injury report since they have a bye this week as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
But just seeing Harvin on the field is a stunning turn from a week ago when it was hinted that he could be headed for injured reserve and shelved until the 2014 season.
Instead, the Seahawks could be getting a dynamic playmaker back in time for the post-season.
"We want him at 100 per cent. Whenever he's ready to go, we want to make sure that Percy Harvin is ready to go," Wilson said. "If he is, man that is something else. He can make a lot of plays for us, do a lot of special things like the rest of the guys."
Harvin missed the first 2 1/2 months of the season following hip surgery in early August. He returned in Week 11 against Minnesota and caught one pass and had a 58-yard kickoff return. Harvin was then sidelined again by what Carroll called "soreness" following his debut.
One of the important moments in the decision to get Harvin back on the practice field was a 15-minute throwing session he had with Wilson on Monday morning. Carroll noted on Monday that Harvin had run well, but did not mention the time spent catching passes with Wilson.
"Didn't throw too much, just kind of caught the ball, threw with him, played a little pitch-and-catch. He did a great job," Wilson said.
There is no guarantee that Harvin will play even with him practicing. The only week he's practiced extensively the entire season was leading into the game against Minnesota when Harvin faced his former team. He was in for 19 offensive snaps and two on special teams, but was unable to get back on the field following Seattle's bye in Week 12.
Carroll was cautious on Monday about whether Harvin would be able to get back enough to contribute and emphasized that even if he did it would not change how the Seahawks do things offensively.
But it could change how the Seahawks are defended with his presence on the field drawing additional attention and possibly opening up opportunities for other receivers such as Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Seattle's pass game has struggled the final month of the regular season with Wilson throwing for more than 200 yards once in the final four games.
"If he can help his team, then that's great and we've never ever said that this changes anything for us," Carroll said on Monday. "He's one of the terrific, young players on the team and we're hoping that he can do his part and fit in."