Two of Seattle’s biggest offseason acquisitions aren’t even certain to be ready for the season opener Sunday in San Francisco.
Both offensive lineman Robert Gallery and wide receiver Sidney Rice are hobbling just days before Carroll’s second season in charge of the Seahawks begins.
The larger question looms around Gallery, who sprained a knee Friday night in the exhibition finale against Oakland. Gallery was hurt late in the first quarter and his availability for the 49ers is in question.
“He’s had a couple of good days here. He has a sprained knee and we’re just going to have to see how it goes day to day,” Carroll said of his big offensive lineman. “We’ll watch him carefully and he’s hopeful he can make it back by the weekend. We’ll have to wait and see.”
But the injury concerns don’t end there for Seattle.
While running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle) and linebacker David Hawthorne (knee) are both expected to return to practice on Wednesday, according to coach Pete Carroll, there’s still a looming question about Rice and a sore shoulder that kept him out of the final preseason game.
The Seahawks have some depth at receiver, but the uncertainty around Gallery is already forcing Seattle’s struggling offensive line to examine some new combinations.
“You have to develop all the flexibility that you can,” Carroll said. “We’ll be in the game with seven or eight linemen and guys have to play multiple spots.”
One of the options could be rookie first-round pick James Carpenter, who has struggled at right tackle during the preseason. Seattle got to the point in its final two exhibition games of working in veteran Breno Giacomini along with Carpenter at tackle as the rookie had problems with outside speed rushers.
Carpenter did play a little bit at guard on Monday, Carroll said. It’s not a completely awkward place for Carpenter, who was a left tackle in college at Alabama. He shifted inside and played guard at the Senior Bowl to show NFL scouts he could play the position.
“It’s not foreign to me because I’ve been playing on the left side for five years before I got over here. That’s not the problem,” Carpenter said. “I’m more comfortable on the left, but I’m going to do my job to help my team win.”
If Gallery can’t go on Sunday, other options would include veteran Paul McQuistan or backup guard/center Lemuel Jeanpierre.
Rice sat out the Seahawks first preseason game against San Diego, but played against Minnesota and Denver. He was pulled from practice last Tuesday with a sore shoulder and hasn’t participated since.
“Sidney is a bit slower than that. We’ll wait until later in the week to know what’s going on with him,” Carroll said.