The Seattle Seahawks are hoping Marshawn Lynch can play against the Carolina Panthers after the running back missed the wild card game against the Minnesota Vikings last week. Lynch was able to practice in full on Wednesday and that could put him on track to start on Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Lynch was out last week and did not travel with the team to Minnesota after the running back did not "feel" that he could suit up for the game. Lynch was able to practice last week and did not suffer any setbacks after returning from abdominal surgery, but did not end up playing against the Vikings. According to head coach Pete Carroll, Lynch is considered "day to day" and the team will evaluate the situation as the game against the Panthers gets closer.
Lynch had surgery back in November and has not played since then, but the Seahawks have won seven games out of the eight that Lynch has missed since having the procedure. The team finished 6-1 down the stretch in the regular season without Lynch and now the team is hoping that he can return for the matchup with the Panthers. Carroll said that Lynch was downgraded last week to out, as the running back did not "have the confidence that he would be able to go."
Luke Willson was also a full participant in practice and the tight end said that he is expecting to play against the Panthers after dealing with concussion related issues. Willson has been out for the past two games, including the regular season finale and the wild card matchup with the Vikings. Michael Bennett sat out of practice on Wednesday, but he is expected to play for the Seahawks this weekend. The Panthers are also dealing with some injuries, but Ron Rivera said that Jonathan Stewart is expected to play after missing the last three games of the regular season with a foot issue.
If Lynch can't play on Sunday, Christine Michael likely will get the start again and he comes in after putting up 70 yards on 21 carries against the Seahawks. Michael is getting a second chance with the Seahawks after being traded to the Cowboys earlier in the season and he could get a chance to step up again even if Lynch starts against Minnesota.
Russell Wilson put up MVP numbers for the Seahawks this season and he has taken the lead for the team with Lynch banged up for most of the year. Wilson did not put up big numbers last week against the Vikings, but he came through when it counted, including on a fantastic play that followed a botched snap that went for a first down to Tyler Lockett. Lockett had one catch in the game and it was on that play and it ended up being a huge one for Seattle.