Marshawn Lynch is finally rejoining the Seahawks, and just when they need him the most.
At least they think so.
Following Seattle’s New Year’s Day practice, coach Pete Carroll said the star running back has done all there is to do in his rehabilitation with personal trainers in the Bay Area, and the team expects Lynch to rejoin it on Monday.
That will be the first day of preparations for the Seahawks’ playoff opener, which will be played on Jan. 9 or Jan. 10.
“I have an expectation of that. Let me say, I’m anticipating that,” Carroll said Friday of Lynch’s expected arrival Monday.
The coach spoke before the Seahawks flew to Arizona later on Friday for Sunday’s regular-season finale.
Lynch hasn’t played since Nov. 15, a home loss to the Cardinals, who are now the NFC West champions. He had abdominal surgery on Nov. 25 in Philadelphia. He spent the next week there, starting his rehabilitation, then went home to Oakland and continued his recovery and workouts with the same San Francisco trainers who have gotten him ready for each of the last several seasons with the Seahawks.
Lynch is believed to have been inside Seahawks headquarters for one day out of the last 41 days through Friday.
The Seahawks have been relying on trainer Tareq Azim and his staff in San Francisco for updates on Lynch’s progress and readiness to rejoin the team.
“The reports that we got (Friday), the latest update (Friday) is that he’s really doing well,” Carroll said of Lynch. “He’s done about all he can do at that end of it. That’s great to hear. We’ll see what that means here in the next couple of days.
“He’s really tried to get back as soon as possible. He’s having that kind of success, and the workouts are not setting him back. We’re hoping that means that he has a chance to get back to us next week.”
Carroll said earlier this week that the team will have to assess Lynch when he arrives to determine how game-ready he is. But the expectation is he will play in the playoff opener despite perhaps having only three practice days, at most, after nearly two months between games.
“If anyone could do it,” Lynch’s coach said, “he could.”
How big a boost could Lynch be just in time for the postseason? He had six touchdowns and four 100-yard rushing days in his last six playoff games for the Seahawks. He had 259 yards rushing and two scores in his last two postseason starts, against Green Bay in last January’s NFC championship game and New England in Super Bowl 49 on Feb. 1.
SWEEZY OUT, OKUNG DOUBTFUL
The Seahawks are likely to be missing 40 percent of their starting offensive line against Arizona.
Right guard J.R. Sweezy is out with a concussion. Left tackle Russell Okung is doubtful to play because of a strained calf that caused him to miss last weekend’s loss to St. Louis.
“Doesn’t look like he can go,” Carroll said of Okung, who returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and then missed Thursday and Friday practices.
Rookie Mark Glowinski is likely to get his first career start in place of Sweezy. Alvin Bailey likely will start again for Okung.
Carroll said the Seahawks “missed” noticing that Sweezy finished last weekend’s game with a concussion. He played all 72 snaps on offense against the Rams. The team added him to its injury and practice-participation report Wednesday afternoon.
“It was Wednesday’s (morning) walk-through. I was watching him and he looked like he was ... he just looked different,” Carroll said. “I asked trainers to take a look at him, and we started talking to him and he definitely had concussion symptoms that he didn’t recognize and he didn’t report. We missed it on Monday, and Tuesday we didn’t see him. As soon as he got here and ran around with him, we could tell something was up, so we had to dump him right into the (league’s concussion) protocol and see what we could get done with him.
“He will not play this week. We’ll see what happens next week.”
Glowinski was the second of the Seahawks’ two picks in the fourth round of May’s draft. He started all 25 games of his two seasons at West Virginia, after two seasons at Lackawanna College near his home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
He’s played eight games this season on special teams. His NFL experience at guard is one play, on Nov. 22, when he briefly replaced Sweezy in the home win over San Francisco.
Glowinski was impressive in training camp with athleticism and speed, especially getting outside to block.
“We do see him every day. He’s a real battler and he’s a very technique-sound kid, and he’s got a chance to help us,” Carroll said.
The Cardinals will be bringing their swarming defense, which blitzes more than other team in the league, at the rookie.
“It’s the maximum challenge for the guy,” Carroll said, “but he’s tough and he’s done a lot of cool things since he’s been here.
“It’s his turn. We’re really looking forward to seeing him play.”
Strong safety Kam Chancellor may play Sunday for the first time since Dec. 13, when he bruised his tailbone early in the win at Baltimore.
“He made it through the week and looked good. He’s got a chance to play in the game, so we’re really excited about getting him back,” Carroll said.
“We’ll see what happens. … Good indications he’s got a chance to play.”
Michael Bennett will play, Carroll said. The Pro Bowl defensive end, with a career-high 9 1/2 sacks this season, was away from the team Wednesday to have an injection into his troublesome toe. … DT Jordan Hill is likely to play Sunday for the first time in five games. He’s been out for a month with an injury to his big toe. “It’s been a long while for him out, and he’s been a nice player for us,” Carroll said. “We’re looking forward to him getting back.”
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle