Seahawks Insider Blog

C Max Unger returns to Seahawks practice for 1st time in more than 3 weeks; Walters back from concussion

The Seahawks got some good injury news for a change at practice today. Two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger was out there for the first time since he sprained his foot in the Oct. 6 game at Washington. He practiced on a limited basis, but that's better for Seattle than him being out the last three games. Today's progress makes it more possible Unger starts on Sunday against Oakland.

Coach Pete Carroll said before practice Unger and starting right cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has missed the last two games with a strained groin and didn't practice this afternoon, are "day to day" in terms of likelihood of playing against the Raiders.

Linebackers coach Ken Norton made it sound unlikely that Malcolm Smith will play against Oakland after he strained his groin last weekend in the win at Carolina. Backup safety and special-teams man Jeron Johnson is in the middle of going through the team's protocol to treat concussions. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill hasn't practiced or played for the last two weeks because of a sprained ankle.

James Carpenter was limited in practice today, but before practice Carroll said he had spoken to his starting left guard and he seems good to play on Sunday.

Marshawn Lynch got his usual Wednesday rest.

Punt and kickoff returner Bryan Walters returned to practice after missing last week and the Carolina game with a concussion he got in the loss at St. Louis. Carroll was asked today whether rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson's 47-yard kickoff return that set up Seattle's only points of the first half against the Panthers means Richardson, not Walters, will return kickoffs again this weekend. Carroll was vague and non-committal in his answer.

My sense: Walters will be back returning punts against the Raiders because of how much Carroll trusts him, and how much the coach values just holding onto the ball in those situations over a long run back. But Carroll seems intrigued if not excited over Richardson's blazing speed on kickoffs, where the returner has less to deal with than a punt returner as far as split-second decisions and catching the ball in traffic -- and thus we may see Richardson back on kickoffs again versus Oakland.