By José Miguel Romero
Seattle Times staff reporter

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KIRKLAND — The news on Seahawks cornerback Ken Lucas was positive yesterday, but the question of when he will play again remains.

The answer hinges on his ability to do the most basic of things: Breathe.

He was diagnosed with a bruised lung.

The starter at right cornerback all season, Lucas left Sunday's game in the second quarter when he fell hard to the ground after breaking up a pass down the sideline for San Francisco's Brandon Lloyd. Lucas leapt to knock down the ball, and his chest was the first part of his body to hit the ground.

To make matters worse, Lloyd landed on top of Lucas.

Lucas was transported to San Francisco General Hospital after having trouble breathing. He was kept overnight for observation, then released yesterday. He returned to Seattle last night.

"Typically, with this kind of injury, there's a 24-hour period where they have to watch the patient and make sure there's no more problems," coach Mike Holmgren said. "And Ken was doing fine. He (the doctor) equated it with someone in a car accident with the steering wheel hitting your chest and causing that sort of problem."


Sunday

Seattle at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 13



Lucas was administered oxygen as he was wheeled off the field in a cart. Lucas was replaced by Kris Richard, and after the game Holmgren told reporters that Lucas had suffered a bruised chest.

"No question about it, I was worried about him," said Richard, who spoke to Lucas yesterday morning via cell phone. "He tried to get up a couple times and fell back down. You see a guy trying to get back on his feet and falling down, and it's like, 'Ooh, wait a minute. That can't be that good.' "

Holmgren expected Lucas to be at team headquarters tomorrow for treatment and meetings.

"In Ken coming back to play, (the problem) won't be any sort of contact or blows here, it's his ability to breathe and get his lungs back so he can do cardiovascular type of activities," Holmgren said. "We were worried for him, prayed for him last night.

"We have to just see how quickly he recovers and can breathe normally. That's my understanding, but we won't know for a couple of days."

Engram, Wistrom hope to play

Wide receiver Bobby Engram and defensive end Grant Wistrom, who have both missed the past three games with leg injuries, could be back Sunday against St. Louis.

Both will try to practice this week. Wistrom is doubtful, Holmgren said, but Engram has a much better chance.

"He's champing at the bit to come back, and we need him, certainly," Holmgren said. "It's just how it feels during the week."

Wistrom has been hoping the small fracture in his left knee would heal in time for him to face his former team, but Holmgren is more cautious.

"He wants to take the trip whether he plays or not, and that's understandable," Holmgren said. "Injuries are a part of this business, and you get a game you're pointing for and that's just the game sometimes you can't play in. So we have to be smart about Grant's injury, and he has to be smart."

Said Wistrom: "I've got my fingers crossed that I'm playing."

Other than Lucas, the Seahawks came away from Sunday's game with little more than the weekly bumps and bruises. Tight end Itula Mili was seen limping off the field at Monster Park, and cornerback Bobby Taylor has a sore knee.

Taylor also missed practice time last week to be with his ill son, which allowed Richard to get more playing time Sunday. Holmgren said he likes Taylor better as the third cornerback covering the slot receiver, so Richard would start at Lucas' right-cornerback spot if Lucas can't play this week.

Sackmaster "sacked"

The ongoing prank-and-gag war between Seahawks backup quarterback Trent Dilfer and Wistrom came to an end last night, as Dilfer pulled off the showstopper: Getting his gag on Wistrom aired at halftime of last night's "Monday Night Football" broadcast on ABC.

Real-life scenes from before Wistrom's Halloween fundraiser, which benefited his children's foundation, were shown on the broadcast's "You've Been Sacked" halftime feature in which players play practical jokes on teammates.

Wistrom, dressed in costume as Willy Wonka, was led to believe that a man posing as an attorney for the rock band KISS was going to stop the show Wistrom had planned for his event — music from a band called Mini-Kiss. Teammate Jerry Wunsch was in on the gag.

The fake lawyer said Wistrom could be charged with a crime for copyright infringement of the real KISS if he allowed Mini-Kiss to play. Just as Wistrom was reaching the apex of his anger, Dilfer came out dressed as a retro Sonics player to announce that it was a joke.

"He did a heck of a job with it," Wistrom said of Dilfer. "I thought it was the band trying to scam me out of more money. They got me good. That was the best joke ever pulled on me."

Alexander's numbers

Running back Shaun Alexander achieved three milestones Sunday:

• His two touchdowns gave him 64 and moved him past Curt Warner for second place in team history.

• His 160 rushing yards moved him over the 5,000-yard mark (5,120). He is the third Seahawk to reach 5,000 — behind Chris Warren (6,706) and Warner (6,705).

• And with touchdowns No. 11 and 12 this season, he tied Steve Largent with 17 career multi-touchdown games.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com