Doug Baldwin returns to practice in time for Seahawks’ opener, but says knee issue remains

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Seahawks' Doug Baldwin gets behind Dallas defender Chidobe Awuzie to score on a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Seahawks won, 21-12. (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times/TNS)

Doug Baldwin is back from his knee injury.

But, fitting this summer of increasing pain and problem for the Seahawks, the Pro Bowl wide receiver says his issue isn’t going away.

“It will be something we’ll have to manage throughout the year,” Baldwin said Tuesday after he spent a second consecutive day in the same practice uniform as his teammates doing wide-receiver drills, then spending the scrimmage time on conditioning runs along a side field.

So expect Baldwin, who turns 30 next month, to be on the Seahawks’ midweek injury reports missing practice time throughout the coming season. The team will learn soon whether that also means a decrease in Baldwin’s team-leading snap counts at receiver.

Baldwin’s answer came after being asked if he will be full go, without restrictions, next week while preparing for the Seahawks’ season opener Sept. 9 at Denver.

Baldwin’s news that his knee will be a pain-management and maintenance issue comes one day after Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright suddenly left the team to have arthroscopic knee surgery.

It came on the same day Frank Clark, the team’s lone proven returning pass rusher, missed another practice after a hyperextended elbow.

And it came with fellow starting end Dion Jordan still not back from a stress fracture in his leg that has kept him off the field all preseason and has his roster spot in danger of going onto an injured list to begin the season.

Baldwin said he first felt pain in his left knee in early June during practices of organized team activities. He stayed off the field for the three-day mandatory minicamp Seattle had in the middle of that month. He practiced the first two days of training camp July 26 and 27, and realized the pain was getting worse.

That’s when he stopped participating in drills. He left the team briefly for what coach Pete Carroll said was “special treatment,” thought to be the same regenokine, blood-spinning recovery therapy Wright and other Seahawks veterans have had since last summer at a clinic in Malibu, Calif.

Asked if he was or will be 100-percent healthy now that he took a month off, Baldwin grinned.

“I haven’t felt 100 percent since I was born,” he said.

“I’m probably about 80, 85 percent right now. The truth of the matter is, I probably won’t be 100 percent. It’s something I’ve got to deal with for the rest of the season.”

Still, a 90-, 80-, heck, 50-percent Baldwin is vital to Seattle’s offense in this season with a new coordinator (Brian Schottenheimer) instilling new fundamentals in quarterback Russell Wilson, a new blocking scheme (implemented by new line coach Mike Solari) and new questions.

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