RENTON, Wash. (AP) Marshawn Lynch's return for the Seattle Seahawks won't come until the NFC wild card playoffs at the earliest.
Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Lynch had not rejoined the team and remains ''day-to-day'' in his recovery from abdominal surgery in late November. Carroll had indicated earlier that there was a chance that Lynch could rejoin the team this week and possibly play in the regular-season finale against Arizona, but he will instead be sidelined for the seventh straight week .
The hope now for Seattle is that Lynch will be available next week for the opening round of the playoffs when Seattle will play at Washington, Minnesota or Green Bay, depending on what happens on the final day. Carroll said Lynch is still experiencing discomfort in his rehabilitation.
''I would think he can make it back. That's what we hear,'' Carroll said. ''It's really up to that day-to-day kind of progression that he's making. There are a lot of days between next week, so we'll see.''
Lynch has not played since Week 10 against Arizona and underwent abdominal surgery on Nov. 25. He has spent most of his recovery in the Bay Area working out with his personal trainers. The need for Lynch's return has grown in the past few weeks after rookie Thomas Rawls was lost for the season with a broken ankle suffered in Week 14 against Baltimore.
While Seattle got past Cleveland with a makeshift running game, the lack of a legitimate back became an obvious weakness in Sunday's 23-17 loss to St. Louis that snapped the Seahawks' five-game winning streak.
Backup running back Fred Jackson said he spoke with Lynch on Tuesday, but got no indication if Lynch would be back next week.
''I just asked him how he's feeling and that's the number one thing. When I talk to him I want to know what he is feeling like as opposed to when he's going to be back here,'' Jackson said. ''He told me he's feeling good, he's getting better. We'll see what happens.''
Carroll also said the team may be without defensive end Michael Bennett this week. Bothered by a toe problem, Bennett was having a medical procedure and the decision may be to keep him out of the finale.
''It could be one that we need to hold him out. We don't know that yet,'' Carroll said.
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