RENTON — After being held out of practice and spending time in a protective boot with a foot injury this week, Sidney Rice returned to Seattle Seahawks practice Friday and is expected to be at full speed for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto.
Medical news was not all positive, however, as cornerback Walter Thurmond was ruled out with a hamstring injury suffered in Wednesday’s practice.
Rice, the team’s leading receiver with 45 catches and seven touchdowns, was injured in last week’s 58-0 win over Arizona.
“(Rice) did fine today and made it through practice,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He went full speed today. He’s got a sore foot but he’s fine, I don’t think there’s any issue with that at all.”
Rice was in a protective boot in Wednesday’s practice, and shed the boot Thursday but did not participate in practice. Friday, he was a full participant as the team finished its final preparation before heading north of the border for its first regular-season game on foreign soil.
Thurmond’s absence is critical since cornerbacks Marcus Trufant (hamstring) and Brandon Browner (suspension) are already unavailable, leaving Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane once again being asked to play increased roles.
Carroll was vague on how those two would be used, saying they would be “in the rotation.” He credited both with solid play last week in their first extended action with the defense.
Asked earlier this week about his more prominent role, Maxwell was confident.
“In little league or in high school, football is football,” he said. “You just have to believe in yourself and when you go out there, you got to just do your thing.”
On having any preference of seeing action at cornerback or slot-cornerback, Maxwell was not picky.
“I just want to be on the field,” he said.
Linebacker Malcolm Smith will be on the field, too, but just not at the start of the game. Smith has filled in at linebacker the past two games as veteran Leroy Hill has been out with an ankle injury.
“Leroy is going to start,” Carroll said. “Both will play in the game the competition will continue there.”
Receiver Charly Martin has been declared out for the game with a calf injury suffered in practice Thursday.
Others limited in practice during the week now listed as probable include defensive end Red Bryant (foot), safety Kam Chancellor (groin) and running back Marshawn Lynch (back/foot).
The speed of Smith at linebacker could become important this game as Carroll cited the breakaway ability of Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller, who averages 6.6 yards per carry.
“They’re explosive,” Carroll said. “We’ll see Spiller more. He’s got great numbers in the running and passing game. We have to really tune into him; he’s a factor who can really change things. He has extraordinary speed and it shows up on the field.”
Carroll said he’d talked to the 8-5 Seahawks about not overlooking the 5-8 Bills, especially after last week’s romp over Arizona. “Everything is geared to come back to a consistent, balanced approach so we don’t become the team that goes up and down,” Carroll said. “I’m proud of that. I think that’s something these young guys have captured.” ... The Hawks finished their first week of going through any practice without pads, having reached their allotment of padded practices allowed by the collective-bargaining agreement. “It bothers the heck out of us as coaches, but it’s relative,” Carroll said. “Everybody’s basically in the same mode right now. All of a sudden, now, you’re going to play the game of football and you’re practicing without pads on and there’s something different about that.” A concern Carroll has is that it might lead to a loss of technique by players on the offensive and defensive lines. But he also worries that players will be less protected from injury during practice.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks