Starting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner will be a game-time decision for the Seahawks' Week 6 matchup with the Carolina Panthers. Wagner is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game at CenturyLink Field with a pectoral injury he suffered but played through during last week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"He's tough enough to play with it, it's just whether or not it's the right thing to do to get him back to health," Coach Pete Carroll said following Seattle's Friday practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. "We need to judge that when we get right up to game-time."
After Seattle hosts Carolina, it travels to the Bay Area on a short week for a Thursday Night Football game against the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers. It's a compact schedule that could play into Wagner's availability this weekend.
"With another game coming up on Thursday we have to take that into account as well," Carroll said. "It might be a tough turnaround if he does play, so we'll just take in all the factors and figure that out."
If Wagner can't go against the Panthers, Carroll said the club is confident in K.J. Wright sliding from his weak-side linebacker spot to take Wagner's place in the middle of the defense.
"It's a natural move for us," Carroll said."K.J. has played 'mike' for a good while for us, in and out, and he's always been available to play that spot, so that's not a big transition. It'll call for Kevin Pierre-Louis to jump up and play. We're always excited for Kevin to get in there and Brock Coyle will be in the mix as well there. Mike Morgan will help us, too, if we need it. So all those guys will help us inside if need be."
Despite being listed as questionable, the Seahawks are counting on running back Marshawn Lynch to "play a lot" in Sunday's game. Lynch's 50-50 status comes because Seattle's final workout of the week was held after the NFL's deadline to submit gameday designations. Lynch ended up being a full participant in practice for the second straight day.
"We had to send it in before practice started," Carroll said. "But he made it out, looked good, and we're counting on him playing."
Defensive end Frank Clark, the team's first pick in the 2015 draft, was a surprise addition to the practice report on Wednesday. Carroll said Clark suffered a "slight strain" of his hamstring while working out and would likely be a game-time decision.
"We just have to see by gameday," Carroll said of Clark.
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (quadriceps) and cornerback Tye Smith (hip) aren't expected to play this week. But Carroll said defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs (shoulder) would provide an "important" addition after missing Seattle's past two games and recently-signed cornerback Crezdon Butler is "preparing to play," according to Carroll.
Carroll said Seattle has "moved some people around" to account for the absence of fullback Derrick Coleman, who was suspended by the club earlier this week pending further information from an ongoing investigation.
"Will Tukuafu plays fullback for us, so that should be OK there," Carroll said of Seattle's plans without Coleman. "But he's been a significant part of our team, so we do have to shuffle some stuff to get that done."
Again looking to next week, Carroll provided a couple injury updates on wide receiver Paul Richardson (knee) and cornerback Jeremy Lane (arm/knee), who would be eligible to return to practice after starting the season on the team's physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
On if Richardson would be ready to go by next week, Carroll said, "If it was a normal week I would have said yes. We'll wait and see how the game goes and all and we'll take in all that informaiton. But he is 100 percent ready to roll. He's really ready to go and we're excited to get him back out there."
On Lane, Carroll offered, "He's not there yet. He's a couple weeks behind him [Richardson] I think. We'll see about that."
For Carolina, it looks like the team will welcome back starting middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, last year's NFL leader in tackles who missed the past three games with a concussion. The Panthers will be without the League's active sack leader in defensive end Jared Allen (back), though, as well as backup linebacker A.J. Klein (concussion) and backup offensive tackle Daryl Williams (knee).
Here's a look at Sunday's game status for the Seahawks and Panthers, coupled with each player's Friday practice participation:
CB Marcus Burley (Did Not Participate, Hand)
DT Jordan Hill (Did Not Participate, Quadriceps)
CB Tye Smith (Did Not Participate, Hip)
DE Frank Clark (Did Not Participate, Hamstring)
LB Nick Moody (Did Not Participate, Ankle)
DT Demarcus Dobbs (Limited Participation, Shoulder)
LB Brock Coyle (Did Not Participate, Knee)
LB Bobby Wagner (Limited Participation, Pectoral)
RB Marshawn Lynch (Full Participation, Hamstring)
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Full Participation, Hamstring)
DE Michael Bennett (Full Participation, Not Injury Related)
DE Jared Allen (Did Not Participate, Back)
T Daryl Williams (Did Not Participate, Knee)
LB A.J. Klein (Did Not Participate, Concussion)
TE Richie Brockel (Limited Participation, Hamstring)
G Amini Silatolu (Limited Participation, Ankle)
WR Jerricho Cotchery (Full Participation, Ankle)
LB Luke Kuechly (Full Participation, Concussion)
They first met in 2000. They last met last year in NFC Divisional Playoff. See the photos from both games and every game in between before the Seahawks and Panthers face-off this Sunday at CenturyLink Field.