RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks could be without both of their Pro Bowl linebackers in their most important game of the season.
Both players were injured in the second half of last week’s loss at Jacksonville. Neither practiced this week. That’s a particularly bad sign for Wright, given how the NFL’s concussion protocol requires players to gradually return to practice before they can be cleared to resume playing.
Coach Pete Carroll was asked if there’s still time for Wright to make it back for Sunday’s game, given that he has yet to practice in any capacity.
“I don’t know,” Carroll said. “It’s up to the doctors. We really don’t have any say in that at all.”
Wagner has played his way into the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year despite an ailing hamstring that he reinjured against Jacksonville. Wagner had hardly practiced over the past few weeks to rest the hamstring, so the fact that he didn’t practice this week isn’t necessarily telling.
“He did some good stuff today in rehab,” Carroll said Friday. “He’ll run tomorrow and we’ll take it to game time.”
Wagner (115) and Wright (94) are Seattle’s leading tacklers.
Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field will go a long way toward determining the NFC West champion. A win for the Seahawks (8-5) would pull them even with the Rams (9-4), and Seattle would own the tiebreaker by virtue of two head-to-head victories. The Seahawks would then be assured of winning the division if they were to win their final two games. A Seahawks loss, meanwhile, would drop them two games behind the Rams with two games left for each team.
The Seahawks are expected to have starting running back Mike Davis available, according to Carroll. Davis was limited Wednesday with a rib injury but was a full participant the past two days.
“He’s done well all week,” Carroll said. “He’s made it through the week and he’s in good shape. He’s ready to go.”
Rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones is listed as doubtful because of an ankle injury, so he’ll likely miss third straight game.
D.J. Alexander took over at weakside linebacker last week when Wright suffered a concussion. Wagner left the game a few minutes earlier, forcing Michael Wilhoite to move from strongside linebacker to the middle. Terence Garvin replaced Wilhoite at the strongside spot.
The Jaguars scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, all with Wagner off the field.
“Those guys have been right at edge of it the whole time in their preparation, so this was not a big step for them to take,” Carroll said of Garvin and Alexander. “Really, Bobby hasn’t practiced in a month almost, so they’ve been getting work throughout. They’re ready to go and we really are counting on those guys playing good football. They both have played, they’ve been around, they know what’s going on, and we look forward to seeing how they do if they get the call.”
Wilhoite, a former starter with the 49ers, has been the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker when healthy this season and also the team’s backup middle linebacker. He would be in charge of calling the huddle and relaying the defensive calls if Wagner is unable to play.
“It’s worked out exactly like we had hoped,” Carroll said of Wilhoite’s versatility. “He’s started at Sam. If he gets a chance to play this week at Mike — and he has already in games — he’s ready to do all of that. It’s a great bonus to have guys with that kind of flexibility and leadership, too. He’s a leader, he can take command if he has to in the huddle and all of that, so it’s not a stretch at all for him to be playing a lot of football for us.”