Pete Carroll met with the media at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center before the Seahawks took the field for a "Competition Wednesday" practice -- on a Thursday -- ahead of Seattle's Week 9 Monday Night Football matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Here are seven injury updates from the head coach:
1. Michael Bennett's Surgery "Went Really Well"
Defensive end Michael Bennett had arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday in Los Angeles, an operation that "went really well," said Carroll.
"It was exactly like expected, so that will allow us to be optimistic about a three week type of window maybe and we'll see if he's able to pull that off," Carroll said of Bennett, who missed this past weekend's game against the Saints. "We'll be very fortunate if he does, but that's kind of how we're shooting for it. They said two to three weeks if he's really fortunate, we'll see if that happens."
Frank Clark took Bennett's place in Week 8 at New Orleans, which marked Clark's first career start. The second-year defensive end played 82 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps, setting a career-high with six tackles and adding one sack, upping his total to 5.5 on the season.
"He did well," Carroll said of Clark. "He can be more precise about his stuff. He missed some opportunities, was a little sloppy at times just taking advantage of good technique. Showed really good motor and again he continues to show us playmaking. He makes things happen. He's really explosive and he plays really hard with good motor that gives him a chance. We're really excited about him continuing to emerge. He's going to, obviously, play a lot again this week. If he plays a little cleaner, he could have played a great game last week. That'll come."
2. Luke Willson "Battling To Get back Out This Week"
Tight end Luke Willson, who has missed the team's past two games, "is really close" to returning, Carroll said. Willson underwent a surgical procedure on his knee after getting injured in the Seahawks' Week 6 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
"Here it is two weeks for Luke and he's battling to get back out this week," Carroll said. "We'll see if that works. We're pretty optimistic."
3. Bradley Sowell "Day By Day"
Starting left tackle Bradley Sowell was questionable for the Seahawks' game against the Saints, ultimately being declared inactive because of a knee injury suffered the week prior against the Arizona Cardinals. Carroll called Sowell's status "day by day."
"We're going to work him out each day and see how he goes and see where he is by the end of the week," Carroll said.
George Fant, the former college basketball player who the Seahawks signed after the 2016 draft as an undrafted rookie free agent, got the start at left tackle against the Saints in place of the injured Sowell.
"Other than the four penalties, two of them were majors, really well," assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable said of Fant's first NFL game. "I'm looking forward to his next opportunity, as he is, and see if we can clean that stuff up. But in terms of the environment and being able to execute what he's asked to do — protection, run game, all that — really well done for the first time out. But he learned a lot too. The illegal chop from behind, you can't do that now, hands to the back in space on the [C.J.] Prosise run, those kind of things like that, and he's good that way. It's all new for him, so as he has those hiccups he'll put it in the file and move on and make it better."
Outside of those penalties, Cable said he liked "everything" about Fant's initial action, noting the first-year player has exceeded expectations given the little football background he has.
"It's pretty crazy," Cable said. "But at the same time, it's kind of our program to get these guys and develop positions, and it just happened to be his opportunity. Pretty happy for him, happy for our team. I think it makes us better in some ways and it will obviously create some competition moving forward."
4. Kam Chancellor "Still Recovering"
Kam Chancellor has missed Seattle's past three games because of a groin injury suffered on the practice field. Carroll said Chancellor would not be on the field to start the team's Week 9 workouts, noting the strong safety is "still recovering."
"He's not back yet," Carroll said. "He won't practice today."
Starting in Chancellor's place has been Kelcie McCray, who had a game-saving tackle in the team's 6-6 tie with Arizona and who matched a career-high with 10 tackles this past Sunday in New Orleans.
"I think he's playing comfortably with our guys as always," Carroll said of McCray. "As they work together they communicate better. They feel one another, they can play off of each other better. I think that there's a comfort that's developed that's going to help us in the interim while we're waiting for Kam to get back."
5. Tyler Lockett "Almost Back To Full Speed"
Tyler Lockett was bothered by a knee injury earlier this season and was listed with a thigh injury on last week's practice report. But Lockett fully participated on consecutive days to close the practice week last week and Carroll said the second-year receiver is "almost back to full speed."
"He's getting there," Carroll said. "He's getting better. He's almost back. He's almost back to full speed."
Carroll said Seattle is hoping Lockett's production will increase in the coming weeks.
"I'm hoping that there's an emergence of a few guys here that we're really excited about and Tyler's one of them, for sure," he said. "He feels pretty darn good this week."
6. Kevin Pierre-Louis Has "A Chance" This Week
Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis has missed the Seahawks' past two games with an ankle injury. He didn't get any work in last week, but has "a chance" to this week, Carroll said.
"We're going to watch him every day, see how he does too as he's coming back," Carroll said. "He was close last week, but he's still got to prove it to us and see how he can handle the workload like we always do. I can't tell you right now what's going to happen there."
7. Russell Wilson "Is Getting Better"
The ankle injury Russell Wilson suffered in the regular-season opener wasn't listed on any of the team's practice reports last week, but Wilson was still listed with the knee injury he sustained against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 and a right pectoral injury he suffered against Arizona in Week 7. Carroll admitted the injuries to his team's starting quarterback were "a concern" each week, but at this point added that Wilson's health has started to turn for the better.
"Russell is getting better and that's a big deal," Carroll said. "We're really glad to see him feel better and be able to do more."
The Seahawks and the Bills have played each other 12 times throughout their history. Seattle is currently leading the series 7-5. The two teams will face off again this Monday Night during Week 9 at CenturyLink Field.