By John Boyle
First the good news on the injury front for the Seahawks. As Pete Carroll suggested Monday, center Max Unger will practice this week and is likely to play Sunday against the Titans.
“Max is going to work,” Carroll said. “He’s going to work today. It’ll be in a little bit of a limited fashion, but we’re kind of counting on him coming back this week. He’ll get all of the work tomorrow and Friday, and we’ll limit him some today just to make sure he gets back to a good start, but it’s really good to have him back. Lem really did a fine job for us filling in, but Max is really the guy who has the greatest command of what we’re doing up front and he’ll help other guys play well and make the right choices and decisions, and he’ll help the quarterback too in identification, which is important, and which we have missed some over the last couple of weeks, periodically, and that’s made a difference in our pass protection. So we’re counting on that shoring up a little bit more, and having one of your team leaders and a guy like Max coming back is a bid deal for us.”
Additionally, Carroll said TE Zach Miller, who sat out last week’s game with a hamstring injury, will again be a game-day decision, and wont’ practice today.
As for Bobby Wagner, Carroll said the middle linebacker has a high ankle sprain, but that Wagner “thinks he can make it back by game time, again this will go all the way to Sunday.”
Despite Wagner’s optimism, players generally miss at least a couple weeks with that injury (backup running back Spencer Ware hasn’t played since suffering a similar injury in Week 2). Then again, players do occasionally make it back quickly through the injury (Josh Wilson once managed to not miss a game when he suffered a high ankle sprain as a Seahawk).
If Wagner doesn’t play, that likely means K.J. Wright will slide from weakside to middle linebacker, with Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin starting at outside linebacker. Wright spent much of his rookie season playing middle linebacker in place of an injured David Hawthorne.
“Bobby’s been doing a great job for us,” Carroll said. “Fortunately if he can’t go, K.J. has flexibility and Malcolm can jump right in, he’s been starting games for us, so we really don’t feel like we lose too much in terms of the system and the background and how to play our stuff. But Bobby’s done a fantastic job. He’s been very consistent and he’s made all our calls for us. K.J. can do all of that for us, but in the long run of course you miss him. If it’s a game or two or something like that, Malcolm will jump in there and KJ will fill in and we’ll figure it out. We’re really excited that Bruce came back, he played really well last week as we go back and look at it. His addition will help that group in general as well, and it gives us flexibility in some other things he can do because he’s back. We’re pretty well schooled, so we shouldn’t drop off much.”
Carroll was asked again about Percy Harvin, and while he said the receiver is running and making good progress, he does not think a Week 7 return, which is the earliest Harvin can come off the PUP list, is likely.
“I don’t think that’s realistic,” Carroll said. “I think that’s too soon to expect that to happen, but it’ll happen. When it’s ready and he’s ready to go and we get a chance to physically capable of being safe. He is a full-on, full-speed football player, he’s got to be ready to go, and really when he comes back we want him to be ready to endure the rigors of the end of the season, so it’s not important to rush him back, it’s important to wait it out and be patient and get him out there when he’s ready to go and can withstand the load of the game.”