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(Reuters) - Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham incurred a season-ending torn patella tendon in his right leg on Sunday, denting the team's hopes of making a run for their third successive Super Bowl appearance.
The three-time Pro Bowler suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly trying to make a catch in the end zone in the fourth quarter of Seattle's 39-30 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters Graham would undergo surgery.
Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin described the injury as "heartbreaking".
"One of the reasons why is because Jimmy works so hard. The type of person he is in our locker room, everybody loves him," Baldwin told reporters after scoring three touchdowns as the Seahawks improved to 6-5 for the season.
"If anybody can come back from that (injury), he's going to come back. He's going to do everything he can to make it back. It's going to be a long road for him, but Jimmy's the man."
Graham is in his first season with the Seahawks, after being acquired from the New Orleans Saints.
After taking a while to settle in with his new team, he was having perhaps his best game of the season on Sunday when he was injured, bowing out with four catches for 75 yards.
He ends the season with 48 receptions for 605 yards with two touchdowns in 11 games.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Tokyo; Editing by Greg Stutchbury