K.J. Wright’s future remains cloudy.
C.J. Prosise’s just became clearer. But not in the way you may think.
The Seahawks on Friday declared both out for Sunday’s game against San Francisco at CenturyLink Field.
Wright has been away from the team this week getting what coach Pete Carroll termed “special” treatment on his surgically repaired left knee that hasn’t gotten better. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker was due back in the Seattle area Friday night.
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Carroll said the team will reassess Wright Wednesday or Thursday next week to determine when and if he can return to play over the last four games of the regular season, and perhaps the playoffs if Seattle (6-5) makes those.
Austin Calitro is likely to start again at weakside linebacker against San Francisco (2-9), with Barkevious Mingo at strongside and All-Pro Bobby Wagner again in the middle. The Seahawks are likely to be in base defense with three linebacker more than the 80-percent nickel defense with two linebackers and five defensive backs they’ve used recently with Wright out against the passing Packers and dynamic Panthers.
The 49ers are the only team in the NFL to feature two running backs, with a fullback ahead of a tailback, old-school style. They are fifth in the league in rushing offense with Matt Breida (738 yards, 5.8 yards per rush) running behind fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Juszczyk is also a strong receiver, with 23 catches.
So Seattle may be in its base 4-3 Sunday more often than any previous time this season.
The best news for the Seahawks on their injury report Friday was that Bradley McDougald wasn’t on it. The strong safety, the most consistent and best player on defense along with Wagner this season, missed practice Wednesday with a new shoulder injury, then was limited Thursday. But McDougald is ready to start again on Sunday.
Prosise, the third-down running back Seattle drafted in the third round in 2016, now has his eighth injury in three seasons with the team.
“He’s got an abdomen-groin-hip-flexor thing going on,” Carroll said. “It’s really been bothering him for some time. He’s been working through it. And it’s gone beyond that.”
This will be the seventh time in 12 games this season Prosise has been inactive. He has carried the ball one time and caught three passes this year.
The former Notre Dame wide receiver has played 16 times in 43 regular-season games since Seattle drafted him.
J.D. McKissic is returning from injured reserve to make his season debut Sunday against San Francisco. He is also a former wide receiver. He will be the Seahawks’ third-down, pass-catching back for the rest of this season.
So I asked Carroll following Friday’s light, indoor practice what Prosise’s future is with the team.
“Well...we just go one week at a time. And this week, right now, he’s going to miss,” Carroll said.
“We’ll see what happens.”
The coach’s shrug hinted there’s more really going on with Prosise.
And it’s likely this: The Seahawks are now in a position to place him on injured reserve next week. They will need a roster spot to bring Mychal Kendricks back from league suspension for inside trading; he becomes eligible to play in Seattle’s next game after San Francisco, Dec. 10 against Minnesota. Prosise going on IR would make Kendricks’ return seamless from a roster standpoint. The Seahawks wouldn’t have to part with anyone in their immediate plans.
I hear ya: Why not just cut Prosise already?
The Seahawks have him under contract through the 2019 season at low, low cost: $745,000 in base pay with a $918,000 salary-cap charge. The coaches remained enticed and encouraged by the potential of Prosise someday finally repeating what he showed in consecutive games in 2016--his 153 yards rushing and receiving in a win at New England, then a 72-yard touchdown run against Philadelphia before a broken shoulder blade ended that season for him.
So they are likely to keep him around into next offseason.
Carroll said defensive tackle Shamar Stephen looked good running Friday while practicing fully on a sore foot he’s had for weeks. He’s listed as questionable. Carroll said Stephen has “a chance” to play Sunday.
Fullback Tre Madden got hurt underneath the collarbone above the chest at the end of his 28-yard catch and run the 1-yard line in last weekend’s win at Carolina. He’s doubtful to play at Carolina.
That’s not a hugely impactful injury. Madden has played 59 snaps in 11 games. Carroll said the Seahawks have a plan to cover for Madden’s approximately five snaps per game.
That plan could conceivably include George Fant. The reserve offensive tackle is especially athletic--he’s a former college basketball power forward--and has been an extra, blocking tight end all season.