Linebacker Bobby Wagner and tight end Zach Miller “are going to be awhile,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Wagner has missed the past two games with turf toe, and Miller had ankle surgery during the Week 4 bye. Both met doctors on the East Coast while the Hawks were in North Carolina over the weekend, the coach said.
“Both those guys got updated on their progress and where they’re going,” Carroll said. “We were not given a timeline for them. Neither one of those guys are ready to come back this week. So we will have to wait and see what happens with those guys.”
The news is much better for kick returner Bryan Walters, center Max Unger and cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane.
Carroll said Walters, who missed the Carolina game with a concussion, has a “good chance” to return this week against the Oakland Raiders. Unger, who has missed three games with a foot injury, could make it back this week, too.
Maxwell has missed two games with a calf injury, and Carroll said, “We will see what Byron Maxwell can do (this week).”
Lane, who has been on short-term IR all season with a groin injury, is eligible to return next week. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who has missed two games with an ankle injury, might be able to return this week.
“We have some guys on the verge,” Carroll said. “We will be obviously very happy to welcome those guys back out and help us compete and all, so it’s going to be a boost.”
As for players who were injured against Carolina, linebacker Malcolm Smith has a groin injury, left guard James Carpenter suffered back spasms and safety Jeron Johnson has a concussion.
Carroll said Smith will be evaluated Wednesday. Carroll talked to Carpenter on Monday, and the guard said he felt OK.
Johnson and Walters both have to go through the league’s concussion protocol.
If Walters is back, it remains to be seen whether he gets his return job back. Rookie Paul Richardson had a 47-yard kick return at Carolina and just looks more explosive than the pedestrian Walters.
Asked what he will do at that spot, Carroll said, “We will wait and see. … (Richardson) really tore it up in there. It was exciting to see. You can see the burst. He has extraordinary speed and he went for it, so he’s in the running.”
At fullback, where Derrick Coleman was placed on IR last week, Carroll plans to stay with a rotation of Robert Turbin and the tight ends.
“If there was a fullback out there that could jump right in and play for us right now,” Carroll said, “we would have already made that move. So we’re going with the guys that we already have that we really like.”
Having two tailbacks in the backfield gives the offense more options. It worked well vs. Carolina as Turbin gained 42 yards on five touches (two runs, three receptions).
“I really like when Turbo is on the field and Marshawn is on the field at the same time,” Carroll said. “We like the flexibility and the things that we can do with that. We will continue to work that out. …
We are going to keep growing as we can and see how it all comes together and how it mixes.”