Marshawn Lynch is “running very well” on his pulled hamstring, but not well enough for the Seahawks to play him Sunday at undefeated Cincinnati.
That’s what coach Pete Carroll said Friday just before the team got on its plane bound for Ohio. Lynch wasn’t on it; the NFL’s leading rusher was in the lobby of team headquarters greeting VIPs making the trip without him. He will miss his second consecutive game -- and just his third in six seasons with Seattle -- because of the injury he got catching a fourth-down pass in the second quarter of the win over Chicago on Sept. 27.
“He actually did a little bit of work,” Carroll said of Lynch returning to practice on a limited basis Thursday for the first time since Sept. 24, before he sat out Friday’s light, indoor practice. “He is running very well. However, it’s just two weeks now. He’s just getting over it. We’ve seen some guys around the league try to come back. He could try to come back and play, but we think he’d be vulnerable. He needs another weekend to get through it, and then by next week, by Wednesday or something, we can get him going again. So we are just about over the hump.
“"If it’s a legit hammy that’s going to bother him...there’s some tissue that’s damaged. And you’ve just got to wait it out.”
So Thomas Rawls is likely to get a second consecutive start at lead back. Rawls rushed for 104 yards on 16 carries against the Bears the day Lynch got hurt, then struggled to 48 yards on 17 carries against the Lions.
Here is the entire injury report:
Jackson sustained a high-ankle sprain on Monday when a 300-plus-pound defensive tackle from Detroit fell on the back of his right leg. Yet Carroll said he expects the 34-year-old third-down back and Lynch’s good pal to be able to play against the Bengals six days after the injury. That is kind of crazy.
“Fred had a fantastic recovery. ... He’s going and we think he’s going to make it,” Carroll said. “He’ll have to work out on game day, but he looks really good and we think he’s going to be able to play.
“It’s just unusual...way ahead of schedule. You can’t figure out how he’s doing it...it’s a miraculous recovery.”
Carroll didn’t rule out adding another running back to the roster if Jackson ends up not being able to play Sunday, but the team would have to change its gut feeling about him soon to do so. The Seahawks would need to make any move by 10 a.m. Pacific Time Saturday for that addition to be able to play at Cincinnati.
Asked if his besieged offensive line will remain intact with the same five starters against the Bengals, Carroll said: “Yes.”
Then he paused for a few seconds and added, “for the most part.” Then the coach smiled.
Patrick Lewis started four games late last season when since-traded Max Unger was hurt. He could replace first-year starter Drew Nowak at center on Sunday against Cincinnati’s aggressive defensive front. Seattle has allowed Russell Wilson to be sacked 18 times in four games. By comparison, the Bengals’ Andy Dalton’s been sacked just twice this season.
“Yeah, Patrick could play,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to go.”
▪ Carroll said defensive back Marcus Burley’s surgery Thursday on his broken thumb went well and that he could be back playing nickel in “a couple weeks.”
Here is more of what Carroll had to say after practice and before getting on the plane for Cincinnati Friday afternoon:
Head Coach Pete Carroll
October 9, 2015
(On how the week of preparation went) "Very well. We had to adjust some because of playing Monday night and we did that. Finished very well today and we’re ready to pack it up and go. So we’re heading out and looking forward to a great matchup."
(On the biggest concerns facing the 4-0 Bengals) "There’s a lot of concerns when you play this football team. This is a very well-balanced football team. This is a team that does everything well. There’s no weakness. They’re highflying and healthy and all that. So this is a game that calls for us to play very well in all aspects. We’ve got to slow them down from scoring so fast. We’ve got to find a way to get off the field on third down. The kicking game is really solid. They’ve got a terrific core group of guys and they know what they’re doing. Marvin [Lewis] has just orchestrated a great football team, and that’s why they’re off to such a great start. So that just means that we have to play really good ball. We have to take care of the football most importantly, and we’ll see how it goes from there."
(On Marshawn Lynch’s health) "He actually did get a little bit of work. He’s running very well, however it’s just two weeks now. He’s just getting over it. We’ve seen some guys around the league try to come back. He could try to come back and play, but we think he’d be vulnerable. He needs another weekend to get through it. Then by next week, by Wednesday or something, we think we can get him going again. He’s just about over the hump. He’s worked very diligently, like I’ve said, to get it done. So we just have to wait a couple more days."
(On if Lynch had a pulled hamstring) "It’s been a strain all along."
(On if two weeks is what they thought it would take for Lynch to fully recover) "Yeah, if it’s a legit hammy [hamstring] that’s going to bother him, then that means there’s some tissue that’s damaged. You’ve just got to wait it out. He’s very close, but we can’t guarantee that he can make it through the game. That means we could get set back again, so we’re just going to wait it out and see if we can get him right next week."
(On if Lynch will make the trip) "No."
(On if the team will do anything to add depth at running back) "We may."
(On Fred Jackson’s health) "Fred had a fantastic recovery. He’s listed as questionable. He’s going and we’re thinking he’s going to make it. He’ll have to work out on gameday. But, he looks really good and we think he’s going to be able to play."
(On if that is surprising Jackson recovered so quickly) "Very much so. It’s just unusual. Luke Willson has done this before in a week’s time. Way ahead of schedule. You just can’t figure out how he’s doing it, but he looks ready to go. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen it, but it’s a miraculous recovery."
(On if the offensive line is staying intact) "Yes. For the most part."
(On if Patrick Lewis could play in the game) "Yeah, Patrick could play. He’s ready to go."
(On what they have changed this week to improve the offensive line play) "Well we have done some things. But, those are adjustments and things that we’ve made that aren’t worth reporting. I appreciate you asking. We have done some things and hopefully we’ll see our play pick up. Everybody has to contribute to that. You guys all want to focus just on the offensive line. I understand that, but we all have to play better and help so that we can execute the way we want to."
(On how Andy Dalton has improved) "He’s always been a good quarterback. He’s always been an efficient guy that can run the club and do all the stuff, and make the throws and all. He’s a terrific leader. A very smart football player. I think now he’s really hitting it on all cylinders. They’re able to run the football which is nice to have that part of their offense. They have a good controlled passing game, but they’ve got the strike ability that really separates you and makes you special like they are. Again, I’ve said this a couple times, they’re the most explosive team in the NFL right now. That comes from some terrific hookups and throws, and designs and all of that. So I don’t think it’s surprising at all. He’s always been an efficient guy that can get it done and they’re just really flying right now."
(On Marcus Burley’s surgery) "The surgery went great. He’s going to be able to make it back in a couple of weeks. Really this is an amazing turnaround from a legit broken thumb and all. But the surgery supposedly went great, and maybe three weeks from now he has a chance to get back out here."
(On if depth an issue at cornerback) "Well, somewhat. Steven Terrell will play for us. And Shead’s playing for us. So those guys will be the guys that step up."
(On Tye Smith) "He’s got a hip that we’re waiting to see if he can make it through the week."
(On if there is any clarity on Tharold Simon’s return) "Not yet for you."
(On what Tharold Simon’s injury is) "He dislocated his second toe. His nature has given him a toe that’s got some issues and we’ve just got to work through it. He’s had surgery on his other foot. Same toe, same situation. So that’s something we’re trying to work through right now. We’ll see whether that’s necessary or not."
(On Kevin Pierre-Louis’ health) "He’s working. He tried to get through it today. He’s listed as doubtful for the game, we’ll see how he goes. We’ll take him on the trip."
(On how Demarcus Dobbs’ shoulder is) "Sore. We’ll see."
(On what he remembers from QB Tarvaris Jackson playing through his torn pectoral injury in 2011) "You know that was really a significant event. He tore his pec and came back and started playing, on his throwing shoulder, and just played through it the whole year. I don’t think any of us that were there at the time will ever forget how we felt about him and the courage he showed. The toughness he showed, and the resourcefulness to figure out a way to throw the football in the NFL with a torn pec. He just said ‘I’m okay, I’m going to go.’ He couldn’t throw it during the week if you remember. He threw it a little bit on Thursday and then maybe a couple throws on Friday. And then we’d go play and he was just able to do it. That was a remarkable demonstration of his toughness and his will to play for his teammates and all that that we’ve never forgotten."