The Seahawks are being told by Marshawn Lynch’s trainers in San Francisco to expect him back in time for their first playoff game Jan. 9 or 10.
Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Seattle’s lead running back -- who last played Nov. 15, had abdominal surgery in Philadelphia Nov. 25 and could be a key to any possible run in the playoffs -- is still in his native Bay Area rehabilitating with his trainers “in the final mode of his rehab, but he’s not ready to be here.” The coach said Lynch’s return is a “day-to-day” issue.
Lynch won’t play in Sunday’s regular-season finale at NFC West-champion Arizona, a game that will help determine whether Seattle (9-6) opens the postseason at Minnesota, Green Bay or Washington next week.
Asked if he expects the NFL’s leading rusher and touchdown maker from 2011 until this injury-filled season, Carroll said: “I would think he can make it back. That's what we hear. It's really up to that day-to-day kind of progression that he's making. There's a lot of days between next week starting up.
“We'll see what happens.”
To the Seahawks, it’s conceivable Lynch, 29, could not show up to team headquarters until the middle of next week or not even practice yet play in the playoff opener.
“We have to see what he looks like when he gets here,” Carroll said. “(But) if a could could do it, he could.”
Lynch has scored eight touchdowns and has six 100-yard rushing days in his 10 career postseason games. The surgery last month was the first of his career.
▪ Carroll said defensive end Michael Bennett had an injection in his troublemsom toe off site on Wednesday. “It takes a couple days” to come back from, the coach said. So he may not play at Arizona.
▪ Tight end Luke Willson, now the starter with Jimmy Graham’s season ended by knee surgery, remains a question mark for Sunday’s game after getting hurt last weekend at St. Louis.
“We don’t know yet,” Carroll said. “He’s still going through the concussion protocol.”