RENTON Officially, Michael Bennett is questionable.
But no one with the Seahawks--including Bennett--is questioning whether the Pro Bowl defensive end will play Sunday at the New York Giants.
“He looks like he’s ready to go,” coach Pete Carroll said, well before the team left Friday afternoon for New Jersey.
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Bennett returned to practice Thursday after missing a light workout Monday and fuller ones Tuesday and Wednesday. He has a potentially tricky injury to his plantar fascia, the ligament that runs through the sole of his right foot to his heel.
When I asked him this week if would play in the Meadowlands on Sunday, Bennett said “Yeah, yeah.”
And that was before he practiced fully on the injury he got late in the first half of the win at the Los Angeles Rams Oct. 8. He finished the game that day via, shall we say, pain management.
“The foot hurts,” he said Wednesday. “I mean, obviously, as many years as I’ve played in the NFL (nine), you deal with pain as you go through. And I think for me it’s just being able to focus on the game and not too much worry about it, because once you make that decision to play, then you have to play through it.
“For me, that’s just dealing with the pain during the game. ... Obviously, it hurts every time you walk and it’s something you have to deal with. Just fighting through it is just like any other day.”
Asked if the bye week helped him last week, Bennett sounded spiritual.
“The bye week always helps,” he said. “I think it always helps spiritually, mentally, and physically to get away from the game a little bit and enjoy your family, watch other games on tv, and spend some time working on what you messed up on during the season, and just reflecting. It’s just a period of reflection, and I think that’s the greatest thing about the bye week. You kind of reflect on the game, you reflect on your life, and you reflect on your family. It was good to get a bye week this early.”
The only games Bennett has missed since signing with Seattle as a free agent from Tampa Bay before the 2013 season were five games last season because of a knee injury. He has played through a painful toe injury that for years has required injections and therapy, sometimes in California.
C.J. Prosise’s “questionable” is more so.
The second year running back and third-down pass-catching specialist has missed the last two games with what Carroll has only described as a “significant” ankle “issue.” He returned to full practicing on Thursday, but he has missed 14 of a possible 23 games with injuries since Seattle drafted him in the third round in 2016.
“He made it through the week. He had a little setback on the first day--he was just uncomfortable--but he made it through practice, made it through the next day, and made it through (Thursday),” Carroll said. “That’s a really good sign because it gives us a chance to possibly have him available.”
If he can’t play J.D. McKissic will have Prosise’s role on third downs again. McKissic had two touchdowns on just 10 snaps in a wowing season debut last month against the Colts, the first game Prosise was out with his sixth injury in 17 months. But McKissic struggled in his second game, at the Rams, including while whiffing on a blitz pickup of linebacker Alec Ogletree on a sack of Russell Wilson. Carroll gave a tepid assessment of McKissic’s second game.
Jeremy Lane is doubtful to play because of a groin injury that kept him out of the Rams game before Seattle’s bye. He practiced for the first time Thursday in weeks. His strain means rookie Shaquill Griffin is expected to start again at right cornerback and Justin Coleman is likely to again be the nickel back inside on passing situations against Eli Manning and the Giants, who threw only 19 times last weekend and relied on Orleans Darkwa’s 117-yard rushing night to upset the Broncos in Denver.
Carroll said Thursday it appeared defensive linemen Marcus Smith and Nazair Jones would play. They are also listed as questionable.
Carroll had already said starting left guard Luke Joeckel would miss the next four or five games at least following knee surgery last week. Mark Glowinski, last year’s starter there, and rookie second-round pick Ethan Pocic are both going to play against the Giants, offensive line coach Tom Cable said this week.
Cliff Avril remains out indefinitely. The Pro Bowl defensive end hasn’t practiced or played since injuring his neck Oct. 1 against the Colts, and is contemplating neck surgery. That means more every-down time for Frank Clark, who told me Thursday Avril’s injury scares him, knowing how suddenly careers in this league can change.