Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says the team will take it one day at a time with Marshawn Lynch, and it's too soon to say if he has a chance to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
The status of Seattle Seahawks tailback Marshawn Lynch for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers remains uncertain, coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Carroll said the team will go “one day at a time’’ with Lynch and “see what happens. See how it goes. Get him out there practicing and just see what that means. We don’t know yet.’’
Lynch surprisingly did not travel with the team to its wild-card game Sunday at Minnesota after telling coaches following Friday’s practice that he was not ready to play. Carroll had said as late as Friday morning that Lynch looked good to go and make his first appearance with the team since Nov. 15 because of an abdominal injury that required surgery Nov. 25.
Even after the Seahawks listed Lynch as questionable on their injury report Friday afternoon Carroll said to reporters that Lynch had “looked really good, and we’re hoping (he can play). Very optimistic about it.”
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However, the Seahawks announced Friday night Lynch had not made the trip after deciding he wasn’t ready to play.
Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, told The Seattle Times on Saturday that Lynch had a “little tweak’’ in practice Friday that led to the decision not to play and stay behind.
“He had a little setback on Friday,’’ Hendrickson said. “Basically a little tweak. And he wasn’t able to go. He’s going to rehab this weekend and hope to hell they win and he gets back next week.’’
But Carroll said Monday that Lynch did not suffer any new injury.
“He did not have a setback,’’ Carroll said.
Instead, Carroll said Lynch simply didn’t feel ready yet to play in a game after returning to practice with the Seahawks last week for the first time. Lynch was listed as a full participant in practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and Carroll said Friday that Lynch had had “a great week” of practices.
“He just didn’t feel like he could go,’’ Carroll said. “He just didn’t have the confidence that he would be able to go. I said earlier today that this is his first surgery ever, and it happens to be right in his core. And you all that have watched him, you know what kind of a runner he is and all the lateral things he does with his body and is so abrupt and so sudden.
“He needs to feel that he can do those things, and even though he could run fast and look like he’s moving he didn’t have the confidence that he could go out there and do that yet. So there’s noting we could do about that.’’
Carroll said it was possible the Seahawks will not know Lynch’s status this week until close to kickoff.
“It really could,” Carroll said. “I don’t know. I can’t tell you, because he doesn’t know yet. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Without Lynch on Sunday, the Seahawks went with Christine Michael primarily at tailback, and he responded with 70 yards on 21 carries, and maybe most important in the eyes of Carroll did not fumble in challenging weather. The temperature at kickoff in Minneapolis minus-6 degrees.
“I thought he played really tough,” Carroll said of Michael. “I thought he played well. I thought he played good, hard, consistent. Took care of the football with a good conscience. There’s all kinds of things that he can, there’s reads and things in there that we’ll work with him on to try to make him a little more accurate. Like I said, played like a pro in a really difficult situation.
“Of all of the guys, he and Adrian [Peterson] were the ones carrying the football, and he had to take care of it all day long. With trying elements and situations around you, who knows how that’s going to go? He dealt with it very well and was very consistent and showed a great conscience about taking care of the ball.”
Bryce Brown had been expected to play Sunday as well but was one of two players on the 46-man roster not to see action. Carroll said Brown was not hurt but added that, “We just didn’t get him in. We had planned to play him. It just didn’t happen.’’
The Seahawks also have Fred Jackson, who continues to get regular use as a third-down back.
Lynch, 29, has played in just seven games this season with 417 yards on 111 carries. He signed a three-year contract in March that paid him $12 million for this season. His age and injury situation this year have led to speculation that the Seahawks could release him after this year, a move that would save $6.5 million against the salary cap for 2016.
Here are some other injury updates:
— Carroll said defensive lineman Michael Bennett had “a strawberry’’ on his knee but added that he is fine. Bennett left for one play in the fourth quarter after grabbing at his knee.
— Tight end Luke Willson “should be back,’’ Carroll said, after missing the last two games because of a concussion.
— Carroll joked that punter Jon Ryan is “not looking too good’’ after suffering a broken nose Sunday. But Ryan did not miss any action Sunday and will be good to go moving forward. “He’s got a couple shiners,” Carroll said. “What a great effort by him. Jon got his face smashed on the turf, nose all over here and over there. They fixed it on the sidelines. They stick the cotton up your nose, and, ‘Get back in there, kid.’ He went back in and pulled it off. He did a great job.”
— Carroll said fullback Will Tukuafu “is the one guy that came out of the game with a problem, he’s got a hamstring that we’re going to deal with. We’re going to have to wait and see what that means.”