Seahawks Insider Blog

Four Seahawks starters out, Chancellor, Unger, Okung questionable for Sunday's game against Oakland.


That's four starters out and three more questionable for the Seahawks Sunday against the Raiders.

Not exactly the picture of health.

While this is standard fare for NFL teams in the middle of the regular season, it is a heftier injury load than the Seahawks have had to carry the previous two seasons -- certainly more than last season when they were relatively fortunate and healthy en route to winning the Super Bowl.

Byron Maxwell's ongoing calf strain means Tharold Simon will start for the third consecutive time. It will be the second-year man's third NFL start. Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr has already been in the league long enough to notice that, and will likely target the receiver Simon is covering often on Sunday. Simon was limited Wednesday and Thursday by a knee injury but coach Pete Carroll said after today's practice that Simon will start against Oakland.

Kam Chancellor's groin injury leaves him a game-day decision to play Sunday, Carroll said. That is on top of his painful bone spurs in both ankles and assorted other injuries Chancellor has been noticeably dragging through games.

"He's banged up. He'll be worked out on game day. We'll see what happens," Carroll said.

Chancellor's ongoing pain and Jeron Johnson being out with a concussion leaves Seattle with just three healthy starters at safeties: Earl Thomas, Eric Pinkins and Steven Terrell. Terrell has been on a practice-squad shuttle for some of this season. Pinkins recently came off the non-football injury list after foot surgery this summer. There could be a Saturday roster move at that position.

Left tackle Russell Okung has a new calf injury to go with a sore ankle and banged up shoulder. If he can't play Sunday, second-year man Alvin Bailey likely would.

Center Max Unger completed his first week of practice on a limited basis since he sprained his foot Oct. 6 in the win at Washington. Carroll said the two-time Pro Bowl selection will also be a game-time decision Sunday. Unger said his foot is much better and he is hopeful to play.

"It's been a long road back," he said following today's light practice.

Stephen Schilling has been starting for Unger the last three games -- his first three games at center in his four-year NFL career. But now he is questionable with a knee injury he first played through two games ago at St. Louis.

If both Unger and Schilling are out, Patrick Lewis would play against Oakland. Lewis, picked up this summer, released and then re-signed early this season, played five snaps two games ago against the Rams when Schilling first got hurt.

Carroll said the offensive line has missed Unger's communication and "connection with Tom Cable," the offensive-line coach, while he's been out.

"It's hard. There's no other way to get that but through years of working together," Carroll said. "We were very fortunate that Steve Schilling did a very solid job for us, kept it together out there and did some good stuff.

"Having Max back is important, just communicating with everyone through the week and helping everybody. But then you also miss his play. He is a very, very good football player."

Richard Sherman was back for today's workout, after missing Thursday with a back injury. He is probable to play but may be less than 100-percent healthy.

Malcolm Smith will "take a couple weeks before he gets back," Carroll said. That likely means for Oakland and for next week's home game against the New York Giants the Seahawks will have K.J. Wright back at outside linebacker to replace Smith -- Wright has been starting the last two games for Wagner at middle linebacker -- and the first career starts at middle linebacker for undrafted rookie Brock Coyle. He has all of Montana pumped over his start Sunday.

With all these injuries and mixing and matching, it will be a challenge for the Seahawks to attain and maintain any of the continuity they have been seeking on offense and defense for going on two months now. That will be true against the winless Raiders, or anybody else.