Zach Miller #86 of the Seattle Seahawks tries to avoid the tackle of Lorenzo Alexander #97 of the Washington Redskins during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - Amid a myriad of players banged up along the defensive line, the Seattle Seahawks are at least getting one key piece back on the field sooner than expected.
TE Zach Miller will play against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night after missing the entirety of the preseason due to an injured foot.
Miller wanted to play in the game and an initially hesitant head coach Pete Carroll agreed after seeing how well Miller had progressed since coming off the physically unable to perform list.
"Because he just looked so good," Carroll said. "He looked great and there’s no reason not to. He’s full go. He’s practiced great and he’s really tuned into it too so it’s the right thing to do."
G James Carpenter also will be back for the preseason finale and is expected to a significant amount of the game. He's missed time the last few weeks with a foot injury.
"It’s necessary for him to get out there and play," Carroll said. "He was really making some progress, so it will be great to have him out."
The same can't be said for many players along the defensive line.
DT Brandon Mebane and DT Tony McDaniel both will not play with groin injuries. DT Jordan Hill is still recovering from a strained biceps. DE Cliff Avril won't play with a hamstring strain and DE Michael Bennett was absent from the team's practice on Wednesday as he is getting an issue with his toe addressed.
It's left the Seahawks' defensive line severely thin and banged up. None of the injuries appear to be serious issues but they still have many players sidelined in the meantime.
Carroll said he isn't concerned at this point that Mebane and McDaniel won't be available for the season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
"Only if they don’t respond well to the practice next week," Carroll said. "So we’ll see how they do next week."
Carroll said they hope to get Avril back to practice next week but are unsure if he'll be ready for the opener. Bennett is expected back after the weekend and his toe issue isn't considered serious.
WR Sidney Rice won't play either but Carroll seemed confident he would be ready for the opener barring a setback.
Only if they don’t respond well to the practice next week. So we’ll see how they do next week.
FB Michael Robinson is still dealing with a viral infection that has kept him sidelined the last couple weeks.
"We’re going day by day on him," Carroll said of Robinson. "He’s recovering really quickly since he’s gotten back, so we just don’t know. We don’t have a timeline on it at all."