By GREGG BELL
The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 27, 2006; 9:23 PM
KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The power of cross-continental prayer among family members on the telephone. An ultrasound machine working overtime. And optimism so rampant, it led him to jump up and down on a broken bone.
Two days of that still couldn't fill the crack in Shaun Alexander's foot.
The league MVP asked for and got another round of CT scans Wednesday on the previously diagnosed cracked bone in his left foot. Alexander said those tests showed the same break in the fourth metatarsal that was there on Monday.
So despite feeling "great" following two days of praying and "a bone machine" feverishly working at Alexander's house, he says he is out indefinitely _ including for Sunday's game at Chicago.
"Unless it's the Super Bowl, I don't think that Mike would even let me think about playing," an upbeat Alexander said of coach Mike Holmgren.
"A lot of swelling is gone, a lot of blood from the bone (is gone), but there is still a crack."
Alexander still was listed as doubtful on Seattle's injury report late Wednesday. But the Seahawks are assuming he is out. Maurice Morris took all of Alexander's practice repetitions Wednesday and is primed to make his fifth career start in Sunday night's showdown with the Bears, who are also 3-0.
"This is a big deal. This is not a little deal," Holmgren said. "I mean, the MVP, you don't want him to hurt himself any more.
"Do I want him to play? Certainly, I want him to play. But we'll do the right thing."
Alexander has not missed any of his 99 NFL regular-season games since Seattle drafted him 19th overall in 2000.
Upon his return from the latest tests, Alexander was wearing blue jeans over running shoes _ and not the protective boot the Seahawks' medical staff had given him.
Holmgren saw Alexander in the team headquarters Wednesday morning without the boot and was beginning to "jump all over him." Alexander then surprised his coach by telling him that he was ready to play against the Bears.
"Shaun Alexander came in today feeling very, very good. Kind of frisky, as a matter of fact. Told me he could play in the game," Holmgren said earlier Wednesday, before Alexander's latest tests.
"I said, 'Wait a second. Let's take a deep breath here.' But he really believes that he is feeling good enough to play."
He still does, even after his retest. When asked if he felt healed, Alexander said, "In a sense, yeah."
"I still got inside of me a little bit of wishful thinking, like I might heal up (for Sunday)," he said, chuckling.
Alexander initially bruised the foot in the season opener at Detroit, in which he gained just 51 yards on 19 carries. Last Sunday, he had 47 yards on 20 rushes while wearing new shoes with special inserts before sitting out the fourth quarter, which began with Seattle leading the Giants 42-3.
"It felt like there was a fire in my foot," he said of that game.
Alexander missed practices last Wednesday and Thursday because of the bone bruise from the Detroit game, which led to the small crack, Holmgren said.
Alexander has started 69 of the last 70 games. His only absence in that span was a 2003 start he missed to help with the birth of his first daughter. He entered that game in the second quarter.
Last season, Alexander rushed for 1,880 yards and scored a league-record 28 touchdowns. He has just 187 yards, an average of 2.9 yards per carry, and two touchdowns through three games. His career average is 4.5 yards per rush, and it was 5.1 last season.
He has gained fewer than 100 yards in each of Seattle's three games this season, his first such streak in two years.
When asked how much playing through the foot bruise and now a break has limited his production this season, Alexander laughed.
"I hope it's a lot, because I really haven't been doing too much," he said.
Alexander told friends, family and Holmgren that he feels the power of prayer has healed his foot. Holmgren did not completely discount that power.
A decade ago, the former BYU assistant was Green Bay's coach when defensive lineman Reggie White was initially declared out with a severe hamstring injury. White played _ and credited prayer with aiding his quick recovery.
"I believe in the power of prayer, let me put it that way," Holmgren said.
"But this is a different type of injury. (White's) was a muscle ... in his mind, he felt he was healed. And he played.
"In Shaun's situation, you have another very devout guy who believes in the power of prayer. But we did see a crack in his bone."
Two times, in fact.