RENTON — Already a concern while two Seahawks cornerbacks face possible suspension, the question of manpower in the secondary took on more immediacy Friday when veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game at Chicago because of a hamstring injury.
Trufant missed practice Friday after the injury late in Thursday’s practice, while leading receiver Sidney Rice was listed as questionable because of tightening in a calf muscle late in Friday’s workout.
Trufant’s injury appears to be more threatening. “We took a look at it and he’s got an issue there we’re going to have to deal with (so) we put him down as doubtful at this time,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re really surprised that popped up; it’s going to be really hard for him to get back from that.”
The 10-year NFL veteran from Wilson High and Washington State had been playing mostly as the third cornerback in nickel situations. His likely replacement would be Walter Thurmond, who has been inactive all season while he recovers from a fractured leg he suffered last season.
The impact of Trufant’s injury status could be compounded by the results of the pending appeal of suspensions of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. If Sherman and Browner have to sit out four games for violations of the league’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs, the Seahawks’ secondary could soon face a critical manpower shortage.
Rice was limited through the last third of practice. “We held him out at the end of practice today,” Carroll said. “He felt his calf tighten up a little bit, so we limited his work at the end of practice. We just have to see what happens tomorrow, but we think he’s OK.”
Two other key injury concerns will be evaluated up until game time. Defensive end Red Bryant (foot) and linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) are listed as questionable.
“(Bryant) did not do much today,” Carroll said. “We’re going to take him all the way up to game time; he’s dying to play. Leroy Hill ran and changed direction and had a legitimate workout today, so we’ll check him out tomorrow and all the way up to game time to see how that goes.”
Earlier in the week, Carroll said that if Bryant can’t go, tackle Alan Branch would move to end and rookie Greg Scruggs would jump in at tackle. On Friday, Carroll was more vague, suggesting that there would be a rotation up front.
The impact of injuries on the defense is acute since that unit is coming off a fourth quarter against Miami in which it surrendered 17 points and 227 total yards.
Asked if his defense had a chip on its shoulder after that letdown, Carroll gave a nod to the obvious: “We were disappointed how we played, particularly at the end of that game. These guys are very sincere about it, it’s a very serious group, with a lot of pride. I expect we’ll play very hard in this game.”
The road has been inhospitable to Carroll and the Seahawks, who have won just once (at Carolina) in six trips this season.
“We’ve had a chance to win every (road) game, a legitimate chance, and it’s really frustrating for us,” Carroll said. “We’ve found our way at home, but we’re so much closer to being a really legit (road) team and a team to contend with. I’m hoping as we grow we gain the wherewithal that it takes to make those plays at the end. We feel like we’re really close.”
Friday’s injury report from the Bears ruled out receiver/returner Devin Hester (concussion) and guard Chris Spencer (knee). Receiver Ashton Jeffery (knee) was listed as doubtful. Key players considered probable after limited participation earlier in the week include: RB Matt Forte, LB Lance Briggs and CB Charles Tillman, all with ankle injuries.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @DaveBoling