Barring an unforeseen setback, the Seahawks will have Russell Wilson back under center against the Packers on Sunday following a three-game absence recovering from finger surgery. But he may not be the only key offensive player who will be back in action at Lambeau Field.
Sidelined since Week 5 by a sore neck, the Seahawks designated running back Chris Carson to return from injured reserve and he participated in Wednesday's practice. Earlier in the week, rookie receiver Dee Eskridge was also designated to return from injured reserve and has participated in both practices so far this week.
With Carson and Eskridge not being activated to the 53-man roster yet, the Seahawks don't have to provide participation level on their daily injury reports, so it remains unknown whether they were full or limited on Wednesday.
Carson, who was placed on injured reserve on the same day as Wilson prior to a road game against the Steelers and has missed each of the last four games, has been dealing with an undisclosed neck problem. According to coach Pete Carroll, the veteran ball carrier is no longer dealing with discomfort that has bothered him for over a month and he's hoping it stays that way as Carson returns to the field.
"He's got to make it through the week of work and like we always talk about, it's a one-day-at-a-time thing," Carroll said on Wednesday. "He'll get banged around a little bit tomorrow, but just see how he responds to it. It's pretty important to get a good bead on this one. He'll feel good physically running around and all that because he's in great shape and he's been working really hard, so it's just how he responds - same old thing - and how his body reacts to the workload."
If Carson makes it through the week without any setbacks and gets activated by Saturday, Carroll refused to say whether or not the fifth-year back would be on a pitch count coming off of injury for gamesmanship purposes.
“I don’t know that yet. We wouldn’t want anybody else to know that either," Carroll smiled.
Prior to his injury, Carson started each of Seattle's first four games, rushing 54 times for 232 yards and three touchdowns. He also added six receptions for 29 yards. Alex Collins has started in his place since Week 5, rushing for 227 yards and a touchdown in those contests.
Eskridge, a second-round selection out of Western Michigan, hasn't played since exiting Seattle's 28-16 season-opening win in Indianapolis with a severe concussion. After not progressing initially as hoped, he was placed on injured reserve prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5 and recently spent time away from the team visiting with a concussion specialist in Florida two weeks ago to address ongoing vision-related issues.
Before the concussion, Eskridge only touched the ball three times in his NFL debut, rushing twice for 22 yards and catching a single pass for six yards.
Like Carson, Carroll remained non-committal about Eskridge's playing status for this weekend on Wednesday, but he's been encouraged by what he has seen so far this week. If he's able to get through the whole practice week without any hitches, it sounded like he has a good chance of suiting up as well.
“Give us another shot here," Carroll cautioned. "It was Monday, he had a day off, and now is coming back on Wednesday... We still have to wait and see. We expect him to feel good. We have cleared our guys, but we still have to wait.”
As for Wilson, Carroll confirmed the star quarterback will be a full participant in practices this week and based on his observations during the team's walkthrough, he bounced back well from Monday's session. At the start of Wednesday's practice that was open to media, he wasn't wearing a glove or brace on his surgically-repaired finger and looked comfortable throwing the football.
With four days left until kickoff, as they do with all players coming off injuries, the Seahawks will continue evaluating Wilson, Carson, and Eskridge one day at a time. Assuming they all grind through the week without any issues, all hands could be on deck at Lambeau Field as the team enters the second half of the schedule looking to start a lengthy winning streak.