The Seattle Seahawks face a tough test this week, hosting the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs at CenturyLink Field in a Sunday night showdown.
What’s not clear, however, is who will be on the field for Seattle.
Running back Rashaad Penny, guard D.J. Fluker and linebacker K.J. Wright were ruled out last week even before the Seahawks took the field against San Francisco.
Their status for Sunday will not be determined until later this week, coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.
Seahawks Gameday pregame begins at 4 p.m. Sunday on Q13 FOX, official home of the Seattle Seahawks.
Fluker’s absence became even more glaring when backup Jordan Simmons went down with a season-ending knee injury in the loss to the 49ers. Third-stringer Ethan Pocic filled that role against San Francisco and struggled for Seattle.
Carroll said the Seahawks are still working to determine who will make the start this week.
“There’s some decisions that we’re making,” he said. “Let’s just see how the week goes.”
Veteran safety Bradley McDougald also left Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Carroll didn’t rule him out for this week, although he said McDougald will be away from the team rehabbing until Friday.
Carroll said Penny will try to “do some stuff tomorrow.” But it is uncertain whether he will be healthy enough to play against Kansas City.
“He’s been really diligent about his rehab,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see what happens. His attitude is really good on everything.”
Seattle signed running back Bo Scarbrough on Tuesday as “insurance,” Carroll said, in case Penny’s injury lingers.
After winning two national titles at Alabama, Scarbrough was drafted last spring in the seventh round by Dallas. He was picked up by Jacksonville in October after being released by the Cowboys and has yet to see time in the regular season.
“He’s a hammer,” Carroll said of the rookie.
Wright will practice this week, Carroll said, and the team will evaluate his status Friday.
“He’s practicing,” Carroll said. “So, he’s ready to go today. We’ll see how that goes.”
The injuries to Fluker and McDougald could be the most concerning for Seattle.
Fluker’s return from injury in Week 3 was credited with sparking the Seahawks’ league-leading rushing attack. That success continued with Simmons as his replacement. But Pocic was flagged for two late penalties against the 49ers that cost Seattle first downs.
“He didn’t work out very well,” Carroll admitted afterward.
If Fluker is not healthy enough to play this week, the Seahawks could consider veteran tackle George Fant as an alternative to Pocic, perhaps shuffling linemen around. Or the team could promote someone from the practice squad to fill that spot.
But Carroll said Seattle was still holding out hope Fluker will make his return.
“He’s going to try to see what he can do,” Carroll said. “We’re not going to know until the end of the week.”
McDougald’s absence would also pose issues for Seattle, especially against the Chiefs high-powered passing attack.
McDougald was named a Pro Bowl alternate Tuesday and has been the leader of Seattle’s young secondary all season.
When asked if he thought McDougald would play Sunday against the Chiefs, Carroll was brief.
“Possibly,” he said.