RENTON — Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks are not limping to the finish line like last season.
On Monday, at the team’s first practice after a week off, only offensive guard James Carpenter was unable to go through drills as the team prepares to take on the Miami Dolphins this weekend.
Carpenter has missed the past two games because of a concussion. Second-year pro John Moffitt started in his place at left guard.
Carroll said that Carpenter had to go through a couple of concussion tests Monday, and has to wait to see if he clears those before he is allowed to take the field Wednesday.
“He’s had a lot of time during the break,” Carroll said about Carpenter. “We just want to make sure we’ve got everything squared away, and we’ll see what happens.”
Carroll earlier told reporters that he thinks Carpenter took a big hit during a midweek practice leading up to the Minnesota game a few weeks ago. Carpenter was taken out for further evaluation, but practiced the next day.
However, Carroll said Carpenter didn’t feel right that Friday. Carpenter also told trainers that he took a hit to the head the week before in the Detroit game.
Complicating matters, Carpenter got a flu shot that week, so the training staff thought his flu-like symptoms could have been as a result of the shot.
While Carpenter remains out, outside linebacker K.J. Wright returned to practice after missing the game against the Jets a week ago with a concussion.
Defensive linemen Clinton McDonald (groin) and Greg Scruggs (oblique) also practiced after missing the Jets game with injuries.
Seattle finished last season with 15 players on the injured reserve list. In 2010, a dozen Seattle players finished the season on the injured reserve list.
Through 10 games this season, Seattle has three players on IR – defensive end Dexter Davis, tight end Cameron Morrah and receiver Ben Obomanu.
“We’re very fortunate to be this healthy at this point,” Carroll said. “And hopefully we’ll make the most of it.”
Carroll said that he and general manager John Schneider finally got a chance to put together a more comprehensive approach to preparing players mentally and physically for the season, with director of health and player performance Sam Ramsden leading the charge.
“We’ve done a lot of things this year that are different to what we’ve done in the past,” Carroll said. “We’ve taken a more holistic look at the athletes in general – everything from their rest, to their eating habits, to the way we bring them back – in every phase of it. … I don’t know if that has anything to do with it at all, but we’ve tried to take care of these guys from the time they came back to us in OTAs (organized team activities) throughout in a little different manner.”
Eight-year veteran linebacker Leroy Hill provided different reasoning for the Seahawks’ improved health this season.
“I don’t care how the offseason is, what’s going to happen on the field is going to happen,” Hill said. “But with a little bit of luck, we’ve been healthy. That’s all you can ask for this late in the season, is to have a completely, pretty much healthy team.”
Tight end Zach Miller said the team’s new training regimen and cutting down on offseason workouts helped curb injuries stemming from fatigue.
“I think it’s a combination of Coach taking care of us with the practice schedule, in addition to having a young team, with a little bit of luck splashed in there,” Miller said. “The way the new schedule works with the offseason being a little shorter, and not being able to do two-a-days in training camps, I think that helps people stay healthier longer and avoid some of the overuse injuries.”
Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was more succinct.
“I think it’s the grace of God,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can think of.”Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams