RENTON — It’s only fair, in a way, that if cornerback Brandon Browner is sidelined Sunday by a hamstring injury, it might open the way for Walter Thurmond to start.
In training camp two years ago, Thurmond was the starter until an initial hamstring injury allowed Browner to start all 16 games and be added to the Pro Bowl with a team-high six interceptions.
Browner suffered a hamstring injury in practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s season opener at Carolina. He did not participate in Friday’s brief practice before the team headed to Charlotte, N.C.
“We’re going to wait and see until game day,” coach Pete Carroll said of Browner’s status. He would not elaborate on Browner’s replacement other than to say that Thurmond and Byron Maxwell would play.
Thurmond is listed as Browner’s backup on the team’s depth chart.
Because of the depth in the secondary, the Seahawks have the option of bumping Thurmond inside as the nickel cornerback – where he played much of the exhibition season – and going with Maxwell or Jeremy Lane on the outside.
Thurmond could be one of the feel-good stories for Seattle fans because he certainly is popular with the staff, who have praised the way he has fought back through repeated injuries that have allowed him to see action in only eight games the past two seasons.
Such injury updates are often the focus of Friday practice reports, as Carroll offers information before the team departs.
The pass-rush defensive end position remains a question as the team readies to face versatile Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Projected starter Chris Clemons (knee) has been ruled out for this week. “Next week, he’ll go full go,” Carroll said. “He looks fine, it’s just a matter of him getting his confidence back, getting enough time really pushing on big bodies and working against resistance. We’re thrilled he’s going to make it back in the next couple weeks.”
His potential replacement at the position, Cliff Avril, is still recovering from a hamstring injury. But, like Browner, he’ll be a game-time decision.
“He had a very good week of practice,” Carroll said. “We’re going to take him up to game time and run him and see how he does.”
Next on the depth chart is O’Brien Schofield with rookie free agent Benson Mayowa, out of the University of Idaho, after him.
Making quick recoveries from groin injuries were defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel. Both are listed as probable after having participated fully on Thursday and Friday.
Guard James Carpenter (foot) took more snaps than any lineman this week, Carroll said, as they try to work him into playing condition. “He had a great comeback,” Carroll said. “We’re fired up that he made it back.” Paul McQuistan is still listed as the starter at left guard.
On more of a long-term injury update, Carroll said receiver Percy Harvin is “going to surprise doctors” with his recovery from a preseason hip surgery. Harvin tweeted this week that he is looking at a midseason return.
“He’s been extremely pro-active and there’s been nothing but positive reports coming out,” Carroll said. “He’s been great about it in every way. He’s doing things twice a day here and he’s giving himself a chance to hit that mark.”
ONE WEEK AT A TIME
Carroll called the Panthers “a very difficult matchup.”
The Seahawks are a 3.5-point favorite after an undefeated exhibition season and are a popular projection as the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl.
Asked of the expectations, Carroll said, “it’s been a part of our conversation, from way back I think we’ve prepared ourselves to focus one week at a time. It’s much more of a discipline than you might think.”
Seattle – Out, OT Michael Bowie (shoulder), DT Jordan Hill (biceps), DE Chris Clemons (knee). Doubtful, DE Cliff Avril (hamstring). Questionable, CB Brandon Browner (hamstring). Probable, WR Sidney Rice (knee), WR Stephen Williams (head), DT Tony McDaniel (groin), DT Brandon Mebane (groin). Carolina – Out, RB Kenjon Barner (foot), CB James Dockery (thumb). Doubtful, SS Mike Mitchell (calf). Questionable, WR Domenik Hixon (hamstring), OG Amini Silatolu (hamstring), DT Dwan Edwards (thigh). Probable, TE Ben Hartsock (foot), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (knee).