RENTON _ 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 a leg 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.
“We’re going to wait and see until game day,” coach Pete Carroll said of Browner’s status. He would not elaborate on his replacement other than to say that both Thurmond and Byron Maxwell would play.
Thurmond is listed as Browner’s backup on the team’s depth chart, however.
Because of the depth in the secondary, they have the option of bumping Thurmond inside as the nickel cornerback -- where he played much of the preseason -- and going with Maxwell or Jeremy Lane at the outside cornerback.
Thurmond could be one of the feel-good stories for Seattle fans, because he certainly is popular among the staff who have praised the way he’s fought back through repeated injuries that have allowed him to see action in just 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 mark as the team readies to face versatile Carolina 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. “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.”
O’Brien Schofield is next on the depth chart there, with rookie free agent Benson Mayowa next in line. “He’s in the rotation,” Carroll said of Mayowa. “He’s going to play.”
Making quick recoveries from groin injuries were defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel, both of whom are listed as probable after having participated fully on Thursday and Friday.
Guard James Carpenter (foot) took more snaps than any linemen 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 that 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 mid-season 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.”
Carroll called the Panthers “a very difficult matchup.”
The Seahawks are a 3.5-point favorite after an undefeated preseason and arising as 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, to get these guys mentally prepared for what was going to come, and it has happened kind of like we had planned. None of that stuff down the road matters right now. I think we’ve prepared ourselves to focus one week at a time. It’s much more of a discipline than you might think.”
Injury report: Seattle _ Out, T 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, S Mike Mitchell (calf). Quesitonable, WR Domenik Hixon (hamstring), G Amini Silatolu (hamstring), DT Dwan Edwards (thigh). Probable, TE Ben Hartsock (foot), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), LB Jon Beeson (knee).