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.
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.