RENTON, Wash. – After missing the last two games with a hamstring strain, Marshawn Lynch is expected to return to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner will be a game-time decision.
Lynch did not start against the Chicago Bears in Week 3 due to a calf injury and then exited the game for good in the second quarter after straining his hamstring before halftime. The two games missed were the first games in which Lynch was inactive since being traded to Seattle in 2010.
Lynch participated fully in practice on Thursday and Friday.
“He looked really back to full health,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “He made it out, looked good and we’re counting on him playing.”
Wagner’s status is much more uncertain. Wagner suffered a strained pectoral last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“He’s tough enough to play with it. It’s just whether it’s the right thing to do to get him back to health,” Carroll said.
With Seattle playing again next Thursday against San Francisco, the quick turnaround is factoring into the team’s decision whether to push Wagner into the lineup this week.
If Wagner can’t play, K.J. Wright is expected to move to middle linebacker with Kevin Pierre-Louis replacing Wright at weakside linebacker. It would be Pierre-Louis’ first career start and his first game back after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring strain.
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (quadriceps), cornerback Tye Smith (hip), defensive end Frank Clark (hamstring) and linebacker Nick Moody (ankle) are all doubtful to play against the Panthers. Cornerback Marcus Burley has been ruled out after having surgery to repair a broken thumb last week.
Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (shoulder) and linebacker Brock Coyle (knee) were listed as questionable, but Carroll was hopeful both would be able to play.
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