Pete Carroll confirmed Thursday that defensive end Cliff Avril will soon go on the injured reserve list.
While the long-term future for Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril remains uncertain, coach Pete Carroll confirmed on Thursday he will soon be put on injured reserve.
“We haven’t done the business part of this yet but we have already talked to Cliff about putting him on the IR list and that will happen whenever we get to the business part,’’ Carroll said after Thursday’s practice.
Avril was back at the VMAC on Thursday after having been out of the area on Wednesday seeing another specialist to determine the extent of his neck/spine issue. The concern is whether he can continue to play without suffering another injury that could make it worse — Avril suffered numbness in his arms and hands when his head snapped back when kicked in the shin by Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Oct. 1 as Avril dove to make a shoestring tackle.
The team has been intentionally vague about the specifics of the injury and Carroll on Thursday said only “he’s got concerns’’ in the neck area.
The move to put Avril on IR was not made Thursday and it is unclear when it will be — for now he remains on the active 53-man roster.
Once put on IR he would be out at least eight weeks and could not practice for six weeks.
Carroll said it remains unclear if Avril could play again this season or again in his career.
Asked if Avril could return at any point this season Carroll said, “I don’t know that, so I guess that means yes. But we’ll wait and see. Got plenty of time to figure it out.’’
As for whether Avril may have to retire Carroll said: “We’ll have to wait and see on that. That’s really up to the docs and Cliff and all that kind of stuff. I’m 1000 percent in support of whatever we need to do here to help him so that’s why we are taking our time. The IR thing gives him six weeks at least to figure out whatever else we can figure out. But he is not sure what is best for him right now and he is trying to find that out and we are giving him hopefully a good sense and comfort that we are going to support him all the way throughout and figure out what is best and do that.’’
Avril was not made available to media who cover the Seahawks on Thursday. But Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated tweeted that he had talked to Avril and that Avril reiterated he is not considering retiring.
At issue, though, could be whether Avril would get medical clearance to continue to play, which is obviously among the things the team and doctors are investigating.
Avril, who will turn 32 on April 8, is under contract through the 2018 season. But it had already been considered a possibility that he could be a salary cap casualty next year when the team could save $7.5 million against the cap by releasing him.
With Avril now out for an extended period the Seahawks will again rely on Frank Clark to start at defensive end with Marcus Smith also taking on an increased role as a rush end on passing downs. Seattle also will continue to use Branden Jackson as an end and also will get added depth this week with the return of Quinton Jefferson from a broken hand.
Jefferson suffered the injury two weeks ago after re-signing with Seattle in the wake of Avril’s injury. The team had thought he might be out a month or so. But surgery fixed the injury and Jefferson will be able to play with a cast on his hand.
“Everything worked out great and he was out here battling, so he’s ready to go,’’ Carroll said of Jefferson. “And it’s not a real cumbersome wrap so he’s got a chance to help us. Surprised by that.’’
As for how the team will replace Avril, Carroll said: “Really it does accentuate Frank’s opportunity. He gets more play time and we are excited for him to get as any snaps as he can. But also Marcus Smith really has to jump up and rotate in there, which is really good. We are fortunate that we have him and he really takes a lot of Cliff’s rushes on third down stuff. So we are fortunate that he came and worked out well and is fitting in fine.’’
In other personnel news …
— Seattle had only three players not take part in practice Thursday as full participants — Avril, OL Luke Joeckel, who is out 4-5 weeks after having knee surgery a week ago, and safety Earl Thomas, who missed his second day to deal with a personal issue. But Thomas will be in New York for the game.
— The list of full participants included cornerback Jeremy Lane, who missed the game against the Rams on Oct. 8 with a groin injury. Carroll said it’s unclear if Lane will be able to play Sunday as the team will need to see how he bounces back.
— Also back fully was running back C.J. Prosise, who has been out the last two games with a sprained ankle and was listed as a limited participant earlier in the week. “Anxious to see how he comes out tomorrow from the work,’’ Carroll said. “He made it through the week. He had a little setback the first day, was just uncomfortable. But he made it through practice, made it through the next day and made it through today so that’s a really good sign. So that gives us a chance to possibly have him available.’’
— Michael Bennett was also a full participant as he deals with a plantar fascia injury. “He practiced today and made it through,’’ Carroll said. “He’s a little sore but he made it through all the work so it looks like he’s ready to go.’’
— Also back fully were DLs Nazair Jones and Marcus Smith after each sat out on Wednesday and Carroll said each is cleared to play Sunday.