Marshawn Lynch won't play on Sunday in the Seahawks' regular season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Pete Carroll said that Lynch is still in the Bay Area rehabbing and recovering from hernia surgery. The hope is he'll be ready for the Seahawks' first-round playoff game.

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RENTON – If Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch plays again this season it would be only in the postseason.

But although the Seahawks appear to be unsure of when or if Lynch will return, they insist he will be the Marshawn Lynch of old when he does.

On Wednesday Lynch was ruled out for Sunday’s regular-season finale at Arizona. The best-case scenario now is he returns for the Seahawks’ playoff opener Jan. 9 or 10. The Seahawks will face Washington, Green Bay or Minnesota.

“I think he’d show up and be ready to go and we could expect him to do what he does,’’ said running back Fred Jackson, one of Lynch’s best friends going back to their days as teammates in Buffalo.

But even Jackson, who said he spoke to Lynch on Tuesday, said he wasn’t sure when Lynch might return as he continues to rehab from abdominal surgery Nov.25.

“He told me he’s feeling good, he’s getting better,’’ Jackson said. “We’ll see what happens.’’

Coach Pete Carroll said Monday there was a chance Lynch could return to practice Wednesday and play at Arizona.

But Carroll said in his regular weekly meeting with the media before Wednesday’s practice that Lynch needs more time.

“There’s still some discomfort for him in trying to establish the consistency of coming back the next day and get back out there, which he’s doing,” Carroll said. “But he’s still not quite over the hump yet.”

Since the surgery in Philadelphia and an initial rehab period there, Lynch largely has been working out at Empower Gym in his native Bay Area with MMA trainer Tareq Azim.

Lynch has worked with Azim for several years. Azim also has worked with other NFL players and has a relationship with Seahawks offensive-line coach Tom Cable dating to Cable’s days with the Oakland Raiders from 2007-10.

“Really, it’s been where he’s trained, so this isn’t really new to us, it’s (just) really new to folks on the outside,” Cable said. “They’ve been working in concert with our trainers.”

As he ruled Lynch out for Sunday’s game, Carroll also said he doubted that Lynch would return to practice this week.

“That could happen,” Carroll said. “But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Carroll, though, sounded still optimistic that Lynch can return for the playoffs.

“I would think he can make it back,” Carroll said. “That’s what we hear. It’s really up to that day-to-day progression he’s making. There’s a lot of days between next week starting up. We’ll see what happens.”

Without Lynch, the team will play again Sunday with a tailback trio of Christine Michael, Bryce Brown and Jackson.

Lynch has not played since Nov.15, a 39-32 loss to the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. He was replaced by rookie Thomas Rawls, but he was lost for the season Dec. 13 against Baltimore because of a a broken ankle. That compelled the Seahawks to re-sign Michael (a second-round draft pick in 2013 who was traded to Dallas before the season) and Brown.

The Seahawks were held to a season-low 60 yards rushing in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Rams.

But Cable and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Wednesday reiterated what Carroll said this week, that issues with the offensive line made it difficult to judge how the running backs performed.

“It was hard to even evaluate that part of the game with the running backs and with the blocking scheme,’’ Bevell said.

Players said the obvious — they hope Lynch can make it back.

“It’d be great,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “He’s a tremendous asset in the locker room. He’s just a great guy to have around.”

Lynch’s rehab away from the team has led to Carroll facing questions about the unique situation.

But Carroll noted that Lynch has done most of his offseason training apart from the team, having usually not attended voluntary workouts, and always has performed at a high level during the season.

“Think about it, he’s never been here in the offseason, so he’s always been with these guys when he’s at his best,’’ Carroll said. “We think they understand this preparation better than we do. So we are just going with what we think is best. I’m in total support of what he’s doing. I have no problem with the way this is going. I know he’s working out all day long, basically. And they are giving him great care in a mode that he’s benefitted from in the past.”

Here’s more video of Carroll …