RENTON — K.J. Wright looked up at his coach through the fog. And he smiled.
The Pro Bowl linebacker’s future isn’t so shrouded anymore.
Wright practiced with the Seahawks through the foggy afternoon at team headquarters Monday as the team returned from its bye. It was his first time on the field since he had arthroscopic knee surgery in late August.
It was the most positive indication yet the only other starter along with Bobby Wagner left from Seattle’s Super Bowl teams of the 2013 and ‘14 seasons will make his season debut Sunday when the Seahawks (3-3) play at Detroit (3-3).
Coach Pete Carroll stopped short of declaring Wright definitely will play Sunday at Detroit.
“We’ll look after him, for sure,” Carroll said.
The coach added there is no reason to rush Wright back now that he has returned to practice on a limited basis.
But expectations are he will make his season debut Sunday, even if it’s ends up being a for a limited number of plays.
The Seahawks started rookie Shaquem Griffin in the opener Sept. 9 at Denver. But he struggled mightily overrunning plays and missing run-gap assignments, so Wagner’s backup at middle linebacker Austin Calitro replaced Griffin on running downs for the last 2 1/2 quarters of that three-point loss to the Broncos. The Seahawks then signed Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks played three games, starting at Chicago and Arizona last month. Then the NFL suspended him indefinitely for insider trading.
Without Kendricks and Wright the last two games, the Seahawks have been playing nickel defense with five defensive backs and only two linebackers, Wagner and Barkevious Mingo, 87 percent of the time.
Wright’s return this week will allow Seattle to play more of its base 4-3 defense, a better option than nickel against a Detroit team that is running the ball better than it has in years. The Lions’ 248 yards rushing this past weekend in their win at Miami was their most in a game in 11 years. Rookie Kerryon Johnson romped for 158 yards against the Dolphins, the most by a Detroit running back since October 2011 (Jahvid Best, 163).
Practice on Monday also featured a return for the Seahawks’ offense.
Ed Dickson practiced for the first time since the spring. Dickson missed the preseason with groin and quadriceps injuries. He began the season on the non-football-injury list. That required him to miss the first six games.
Sunday’s game at the Lions is the first one Dickson is eligible to play in. Monday showed Dickson is on track to debut this weekend.