Can James Carpenter stay healthy?

September 5, 2013 

Listed conservatively at 6-foot-5 and 321 pounds, Carpenter could be the key to Seattle’s offensive line playing at an elite level.

The only question mark for the third-year pro out of Alabama is a significant one — can he stay healthy?

Selected as Seattle’s right tackle with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Carpenter tore an ACL in his left knee at practice during pass rush-blocking drills after starting nine games — one at left guard and eight at right tackle — his rookie season.

Carpenter’s recovery went well enough that the team did not place him on the physically unable to perform list for the 2012 season. Carpenter started seven games at left guard last year, but he re-injured his surgically repaired knee during the opening series against Chicago on Dec. 2. He was placed on the reserve/non-football list two days later.

Carpenter, 24, had arthroscopic surgery on the knee during the offseason, and he did not participate in any on-field drills during offseason practices.

Carpenter finally got on the field for the Seahawks’ last exhibition game after nursing a sore foot for two weeks. When healthy, Carpenter is slated to start at left guard next to tackle Russell Okung, replacing Paul McQuistan. That gives Seattle a formidable left side of the offensive line similar to the days of Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson.

Seattle led the league in rushing attempts last season, with Marshawn Lynch rumbling for a career-high 1,590 yards rushing. Carroll maintains that his team will continue to lean on a run-first approach. A healthy Carpenter makes Seattle more physical up front, with McQuistan possibly moving to right guard.

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