RENTON — The injury news Friday for the Seahawks featured some good — running back Chris Carson was back to being a full participant in practice.
And it featured some potentially ominous — starting safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar were ruled out, and the Seahawks must face the Miami Dolphins and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday without the two key offseason additions to a secondary that has struggled with them.
First, the good.
Carson suffered a scary-looking knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 38-31 win against Dallas when his leg was twisted by Dallas defensive lineman Trysten Hill, who could still get punished by the NFL (if a fine is coming it likely would be announced Saturday).
But it was learned soon after the game that Carson had escaped significant injury, and he continued to get better during the week. Though he was listed as questionable for the Miami game, coach Pete Carroll’s comments seemed to indicate Carson will play.
“He had a good, solid week,” the Seahawks coach said. “And we’ll go all the way to game time to make sure that he feels really confident and all, but he looked good.”
By the end of the week, Carson practiced fully and backup Carlos Hyde remained limited because of a sore shoulder, further indicating Carson may return to starting duty Sunday.
For the second straight practice Friday, Hyde wore a red, noncontact jersey in practice, which are usually reserved for quarterbacks.
Carroll stressed it was a precautionary move.
“We just wanted to make sure he got through the week without banging it, that’s all,” Carroll said.
But if the offensive backfield may be back to its usual self, the secondary will be anything but for Sunday’s game.
Adams, acquired in a blockbuster deal in July from the Jets in which the Seahawks gave up their next two first-round draft picks, suffered a strained groin in the fourth quarter against Dallas. Dunbar sat out that game because of a sore knee that developed out of the win over New England on Sept. 20.
That Adams is out is no surprise. Carroll said early in the week that it would be difficult for him to return.
But Carroll had seemed more optimistic about getting back Dunbar, acquired in March from Washington for a fifth-round draft pick.
Instead, his sore knee will cost him a second game, and he again will be replaced by Tre Flowers.
Adams’ usual backup, Lano Hill, is also listed as questionable because of a back injury that kept him out last week — he did not practice Thursday or Friday. And that means Ryan Neal may get his first career start.
Neal filled in for Adams in the fourth quarter last week and had an interception in the end zone with six seconds left that clinched the win.
The news was at least better about cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who was also listed as questionable because of a shoulder injury. He practiced fully Friday, and Carroll said “he’s ready to go.”
Still, the Seahawks are facing the prospect of using their third starting secondary in four games.
“We’re anxious to see how the guys play, and we got some really good performances of guys stepping up last week, and it’s important that they do it again,” Carroll said.
Neal had played only on special teams before getting 29 snaps last week.
They also added veteran depth at safety this week, signing Damarious Randall to the practice squad. Randall, a first-round pick of the Packers in 2015, has 56 career NFL starts and could be elevated off the practice squad Saturday, with Carroll saying Friday “he could help us if we need him to.”
The Seahawks also listed cornerback Neiko Thorpe as questionable, meaning the third corner available Sunday may be Linden Stephens, who played three games for Miami late last season after being signed off Seattle’s practice squad, was waived and re-signed by the Seahawks.
The injury situation only adds to the pass defense’s struggles the past three games. The Seahawks have allowed the most passing yards in the NFL (1,292) and the most in NFL history in the first three games of a season.
And Sunday comes the challenge of facing Fitzpatrick, who will make his 143rd career start and has a few decent targets, led by receiver DeVante Parker (14 reception for 169 yards) and tight end Mike Gesicki (12-175).
Carroll didn’t rule out that Adams and Dunbar could miss multiple games.
The Seahawks host Minnesota on Oct. 11 then has a bye. They could decide to play it cautious with injuries, knowing players would have the off week to recover more fully.
“It’s part of our thinking, knowing that the bye is coming,” Carroll said. “So it depends on how the guys are. We’re not going to bring them up until they’re ready. But there’s an opportunity if a guy just barely at the end of the week he’s just making it back that taking that extra week could be worthwhile, so we’ll just have to gauge that as we go. Those guys in particular, they’re dying to play. And so as soon as they’re ready they’re gonna jump out.”
The Seahawks also ruled out linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who will be replaced in the lineup by Cody Barton, who was listed as limited in practice the past two days because of a quad injury.
But the rest of the injury news was promising.
Specifically, though right guard Damien Lewis (ankle) was listed as questionable Carroll said he “did a marvelous job” in practice this week. “He practiced the whole week and did everything. So he didn’t even flinch.”
The rest of the players on what is currently a 52-player roster are considered good to go, which includes defensive tackle Poona Ford (groin) and defensive end Benson Mayowa (groin), both of whom were on the injury report earlier in the week.