RENTON - For the first time this week, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck participated in practice Friday - albeit on a limited basis - signaling the possibility that he could return from a hip injury to play in a must-win game against St. Louis on Sunday.
However, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll maintained that reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is on target to get his second career start.
“Charlie’s going,” Carroll said. “We’ve been committed to that because that’s what we can count on and that’s what we know. Charlie had a real solid week. He did everything we needed him to do, so he’s ready for the game.”
However, Hasselbeck will be listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. A questionable listing means a player has a 50-50 chance of playing.
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“I was a little bit surprised he was able to move as much as he did today,” Carroll said. “He’s not ready to play a game today, but he got some work done. He needed to feel it – getting into the huddle and making his calls. It’s going to make him feel better about the plan if he has a chance to play. ... We’ve just got to see if he can run, and right now, we don’t know.”
Hasselbeck took some snaps with the first unit during a 45-minute walkthrough, and then stayed after to work on drops and throw some routes under the watchful eye of Carroll. But Hasselbeck practicing does not necessarily mean he will start Sunday if he’s deemed OK by the team’s training staff, Carroll said.
“It’s not that simple,” Carroll said. “Charlie’s ready to go. And, in my mind, that’s how we go until we know otherwise and we have more information. We don’t have enough right now.
“This is just the first step to figuring out how Matt can handle the physical stuff. So I don’t want us to be distracted by that. Matt’s diligently going about preparing to play, and that’s exactly what we need him to do. And if it’s possible, he’s going to will it to happen that he’s ready to play on game day.”
The Seahawks also made another change along the offensive line.
Tyler Polumbus worked all week with the first unit at left guard, and will start there Sunday in place of Chester Pitts, meaning the Seahawks will start their 10th different offensive line combination.
For Polumbus, it will be his first career start at guard.
He played a few snaps at left guard late in the game against Kansas City but has spent most of his time at tackle this season, starting five games at left tackle and one game at right tackle.
“There’s certainly a difference to the positions, but I’ve been practicing there for a few weeks now and getting used to it,” Polumbus said about the move. “So I feel comfortable there now.”
At 6-foot-8, 300 pounds, Polumbus is considered tall for a guard, but Carroll likes his potential at the position.
“He’s a big, strong guy that has played well for us,” Carroll said. “I want to see how he does on that left side. We want to make sure that we’re doing the best that we can possibly do. Chester’s ready to play in this game as well. And we’ll see how that goes.
“It’s always about competition. We’re just trying to make sure that our guys know you have to keep working hard, and you’ve got to keep pushing.
“And guys can get elevated and opportunities can change.”
With Polumbus at left guard and Mike Gibson at right guard, the Seahawks have two players with a combined 21 starts, while Pitts and Stacy Andrews and their combined 165 starts will be on the sideline as Seattle prepares for a game it has to win to extend the season.
Seattle vs. St. Louis, 5:20 p.m., Ch. 5, 1240-AM, 1030-AM, 97.3-FM