It’s another week of waiting for -- and about -- Marshawn Lynch.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said his star running back’s “slightly pulled” hamstring has improved after he sat out Monday night’s win over Detroit. But it sounds like it could be a game-time decision on Sunday at Cincinnati whether the NFL’s rushing and touchdown leader since 2011 returns to Seattle’s struggling offense.
Carroll said the team is going "day to day" on Lynch's injury, which caused him to miss just his second game in six seasons with the Seahawks on Monday night. He said they are likely “taking it to the end of the week” with Lynch’s availability for the unbeaten Bengals.
Lynch looked fluid and appeared to run without a limp while warming up with straight-line runs and leg crossovers in sweats two hours before Monday night’s game.
Undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls replaced Lynch against the Lions and gained 9 yards with his first eight carries against the league’s only winless team. Rawls finished with 48 yards on 17 rushes, after romping for 104 yards on 16 carries the week before against Chicago when Lynch missed most of the first quarter and entire second half.
Carroll also said before Wednesday’s practice nose tackle Brandon Mebane is likely to play against the Bengals. The 30-year-old run stuffer missed the Lions game with a strained groin.
Nickel back Marcus Burley is getting surgery Thursday to set the thumb he broke Monday night, Carroll said. That means do-it-all defensive back DeShawn Shead appears to be the nickel, fifth defensive back on Sunday against the deep-throwing, No.-2 passing offense in the NFL -- and for the foreseeable future.
At least he’ll be more prepared this week. Shead, who has also played cornerback, strong safety and free safety this preseason and season, said he didn’t get a single snap at nickel during practices last week before he played 32 of the 36 nickel-back snaps against Detroit. Burley got hurt after four plays in the first quarter.
Shead is the Seahawks’ Plan C at the extra defensive-back position opposite slot receivers. Jeremy Lane is the usual nickel but remains on the physically-unable-perform list after breaking his arm and tearing a knee ligament in February’s Super Bowl. He can’t return to practice until after the Oct. 18 game against Carolina.
▪ Carroll said 34-year-old running back Fred Jackson has what the team would term a high-ankle sprain, ligament damage from which one usually takes multiple weeks to recover. That’s from a Lions defensive lineman falling on his right ankle early in the second half Monday. But the coach said Wednesday Jackson is moving around well and the team isn’t ruling Jackson out to play against the Bengals.
▪ Reserve defensive back Tharold Simon remains a disappointment for not being able to simply stay on the field. Carroll said Simon will remain out this week with a dislocated toe. He’s played only a handful of plays through four games, after an injury-sidetracked 2014 and a rookie year of ‘13 spent on injured reserve.
▪ Carroll said there is a chance reserve defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs plays at Cincinnati. He missed Monday’s game with a shoulder injury.
▪ Key special-teams player and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette is better after feeling sick and short of breath during Monday’s game.
▪ Fellow special-teams player and outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis missed the Detroit game with a hamstring injury but Carroll said he’s “not ruled out” for Sunday at Cincinnati.