By Chris Cluff
The Seahawks had some good news and some not unexpected bad news along their offensive line Friday.
The good: Center Max Unger, who missed most of the week with a hip injury, was back at practice and is considered probable for the game against New England on Sunday.
“Max is ready to go,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters, per The News Tribune. “He’s fine. He’s got to get through tomorrow, but he should be in good shape.”
The unsurprising bad news is that guard John Moffitt will miss at least two more games with an injury to his surgically repaired right knee.
Moffitt, who had elbow and shoulder problems earlier this season, has missed the last two games with the bad knee, which he aggravated against Green Bay in Week 3.
“It was a little more serious than we thought,” Carroll said. “So we’re just making sure we’re taking care of him. We’re OK on the depth chart right now, so it’s working out that we can buy the time and not force him back too soon.”
Carroll said Moffitt could be back when the Seahawks go to Detroit on Oct. 28.
“I think he’s got a couple weeks at the most before he’s coming back,” Carroll said. “Next week doesn’t help because we have a short week coming up (Thrusday in San Francisco), but after that we have a chance to get him.”
With Moffitt still out, Paul McQuistan will make his third straight start at right guard, with rookie J.R. Sweezy backing him up.
Moffitt’s absence also means Lemuel Jeanpierre is the backup center behind Unger.
The Patriots have long loved to play games with their injury report. They typically list around a dozen players as questionable, as if to prove to the league that they are not hiding any injuries.
They have 16 players on the report this week, including 14 listed as questionable.
The biggest question, though, is whether tight end Aaron Hernandez is going to play. The Patriots apparently release two injury reports Friday, one saying he practiced on a limited basis and the other saying he did not practice at all. The multifaceted player has missed four weeks with an ankle injury. Coach Bill Belichick said he would be a game-time decision Sunday.
Seattle cornerback Walter Thurmond, who has been on the PUP all season as he rehabs a broken leg suffered last October, is expected to return to practice next week and could return to the roster within three weeks of that. (Otherwise, the Seahawks would have to put him on injured reserve.)
“He’s ready to go when the PUP status is lifted,” Carroll told reporters Wednesday. “We’ll see how that works out. That’s according to Walter. He’s really cranked up and ready to go. We really encouraged him to work really hard in his rehab so when he gets back he’s ready to play. It would be a big boost to us.”
As if the Seahawks’ top-ranked defense needs a boost.
**Running back Marshawn Lynch practiced for the second day in a row Friday. The Seahawks have been resting his bothersome back early in the week all season.
**Defensive tackles Clinton McDonald (groin) and Jaye Howard (foot) are not expected to play Sunday. McDonald, a key man in the line rotation, was injured against Carolina. Howard has been hobbled by the foot injury for three weeks.
OUT: OG John Moffitt (knee), DT Jaye Howard (foot).
DOUBTFUL: DT Clinton McDonald (groin).
PROBABLE: C Max Unger (hip), RB Marshawn Lynch (back).
PUP: CB Walter Thurmond (leg).
IR: DE Dexter Davis (hip), TE Cameron Morrah (toe), RB Vai Tuau (knee).
OUT: S Steve Gregory (hip), LB Tracy White (foot).
QUESTIONABLE: WR Wes Welker (ankle), WR Julian Edelman (hand),TE Rob Gronkowski (hip), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion), RB Brandon Bolden (knee), RB Shane Vereen (foot), DL Justin Francis (ankle), DL Brandon Deaderick (ankle), OL Logan Mankins (calf/hip), OL Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), CB Sterling Moore (knee).
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.