Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll hopeful that Marshawn Lynch can return for playoffs

Marshawn Lynch

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch had surgery to repair an injury related to a sports hernia.

(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

The Seattle Seahawks could be down two starting offensive linemen and their starting tight end for Sunday’s regular-season finale in Arizona, but Coach Pete Carroll is sounding increasingly optimistic that running back Marshawn Lynch will return for the playoffs.

The Seahawks will be without tight end Luke Willson, right guard J.R. Sweezy and probably left tackle Russell Okung against the Cardinals. Willson and Sweezy are out with concussions, while Okung is listed as doubtful with a calf injury.

But Carroll offered a bright spot headed into the playoffs, saying that Lynch, who hasn’t played since a Nov. 15 loss to Arizona and had surgery for a sports hernia Nov. 25, continues to make progress in his recovery. The coach is “anticipating” that Lynch will rejoin the team Monday.

Dalton optimisitc

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton is hopeful the cast he has worn around his right thumb for three weeks will come off when he makes his weekly visit to a hand specialist Monday. The Bengals hope Dalton, whose thumb was fractured during a Dec. 13 loss to Pittsburgh, could be healthy in time for the divisional round of the playoffs. If the Bengals host a wild-card round game next week, AJ McCarron likely will be the starter. A Bengals victory Sunday over Baltimore, along with a Denver loss to San Diego, would give Cincinnati the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

Gurley probably done

St. Louis rookie running back Todd Gurley missed his third straight practice because of a right foot injury and is likely to be held out of the Rams’ final regular-season game Sunday at San Francisco.


Kansas City pass rusher Justin Houston, recovering from a knee injury, practiced for the first time in more than a month and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Oakland. . . . Buffalo will be without running back LeSean McCoy for its season finale against the New York Jets because of a right-knee injury. . . . Houston outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney will miss Sunday’s potential AFC South title clincher against Jacksonville with a foot injury. The Jaguars ruled out running back T.J. Yeldon becuause of a knee injury. . . . Minnesota listed nose tackle Linval Joseph as doubtful for Sunday’s NFC North title decider at Green Bay due to a foot injury. . . . New Orleans receiver Marques Colston was ruled out of Sunday’s season finale in Atlanta because of a chest injury. . . . Indianapolis ruled out backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for Sunday’s game against Tennessee because of shoulder, rib and back injuries, leaving Josh Freeman, Ryan Lindley and Stephen Morris as Chuck Pagano’s only options in what could be his last game as Colts coach.