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Seahawks' Miller, Carpenter to play against Raiders

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By Eric D. Williams
The News Tribune
RENTON -- Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll received some good news heading into tonight's final preseason game against visiting Oakland at CenturyLink Field.
Two key players on offense return to action in tight end Zach Miller and offensive lineman James Carpenter.
Carroll indicated earlier this week that Miller likely would sit out the entire preseason to make sure his sore foot was fully healthy, and he was ready to play against Carolina in the season opener.
The Seahawks recently activated Miller off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and he's looked good in practice. Further, the Arizona State product wants to play against his old team, the Raiders.
Miller will get his wish. So what caused the change of heart for Carroll?
"He just looked so good," Carroll said. "He's ready. And there's no reason not to. He's full-go."
Along with Miller, Carpenter will play for the first time this preseason, after nursing a foot injury most of training camp. If healthy, Carpenter could take over at left guard, allowing versatile offensive lineman Paul McQuistan to compete for time at right guard with second-year pro J.R. Sweezy.
"We're looking forward to him playing," Carroll said about Carpenter. "It's necessary for him to get out there and play again. He's really making some progress. He missed a couple weeks here, so it will be great to have him out."
The news after Wednesday's walk-through practice inside Seattle's indoor facility was not as sunny on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) will not play against the Raiders, Carroll said. However, Carroll is hopeful that Avril, who has not played at all this preseason, can go against Carolina.
"He's recovering," Carroll said about Avril. "As of this morning he's feeling better, and we're hoping that he'll be able to go next week. We don't know until we get there though."
The Seahawks need Avril next week, because the team will be without leading sack man Chris Clemons, who remains on the PUP list rehabbing from ACL knee surgery that took place in January.
Carroll indicated that Clemons is close to returning, and the team will have a tough decision to make on whether to leave the University of Georgia product on the PUP list once the season begins, or place him on the active roster.
If Clemons begins the season on the PUP list, the earliest he can return is Week 7.
"He hasn't worked against anybody or practiced or any of that kind of stuff, so we have a big decision to make there and we will figure that one out," Carroll said.
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett also will miss the Oakland game to have a procedure performed on an injured toe, but should be ready to go next week.
Defensive lineman Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel will not play because of ailing groin injuries. Clinton McDonald will start for Mebane, but Carroll was not clear who would start at 3-tech defensive tackle for McDaniel.
Carroll said whether Mebane and McDaniel are available for the Carolina game will depend on how they respond to treatment and practice time next week.
According to Carroll, rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill is responding well to treatment for a strained bicep, and could be back sooner than expected.
"We thought originally it was going to be something that might really cost him," Carroll said. "But we'll find out where he is next week, and take it from there. We don't know yet, but he is responding well. He's feeling good. He doesn't have any pain or discomfort, so there's a chance he may get back here sooner than we thought originally."
Carroll said that fullback Michael Robinson, out for over a week with a virus, will not play against Oakland, and could be a scratch for the season opener as well.
"He's dealing with some intricacies about the illness he has," Carroll said. "It's going to take us a little time before we get him back out here. Hopefully he may be ready in a couple weeks."
With Robinson out, Derrick Coleman will be the first man up at fullback, followed by rookie Spencer Ware. Phil Bates, who recently moved to fullback, will work mostly at receiver today, Carroll said.
Sidney Rice (knee) will not play against Oakland, but is expected to be ready for the Carolina game, unless he suffers a setback in practice during game week.
Story tags » Seahawks

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