Wednesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Chris Spencer

Chris Spencer. The team’s starting center appears ready to return to action for the first time since tearing a quadriceps muscle on Aug. 22 in the second preseason game.

Whether the former first-round draft choice starts Sunday when the Seahawks host the Chicago Bears at Qwest Field remains to be seen. Spencer split time in practice with Steve Vallos and, coach Jim Mora said, “We’ll probably move a little bit more toward Spencer (on Thursday),” if Spencer comes out of today’s practice in good shape.

“We’d like to decide by tomorrow after practice at the latest, and then go from there,” Mora said.

Vallos started the first two games, and played well. But the move back to Spencer will be made when he’s ready.

“We think Chris is a really good player,” he said. “We’re not going to keep him on the bench if he can help you win.”

POSITION WATCH

Nickel back.  With Josh Wilson out because of a high ankle sprain, Kelly Jennings will start at left cornerback against the Bears. But who will be the third corner in the defense used when the opposition goes with three wide receivers?

There are two options for the role Wilson filled on passing downs:

One is using free safety Jordan Babineaux as the nickel back, and then having Lawyer Milloy play free safety in the nickel. That’s what the coaches did after Wilson went out against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The other is using Travis Fisher as the nickel back. The veteran corner has been inactive for the first two games because of a strained hamstring.

“We haven’t decided yet,” Mora said. “Tomorrow’s typically our nickel day, so we’ll talk more about that this evening.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Out

  • LB Leroy Hill (groin)
  • OT Sean Locklear (ankle)
  • CB Josh Wilson (ankle)

Did not practice

  • WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back)
  • FB Justin Griffith (knee)
  • DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
  • QB Matt Hasselbeck (rib)
  • MLB Lofa Tatupu (hamstring)

Limited in practice

  • CB Ken Lucas (groin)

Full participation

  • WR Deion Branch (hamstring)
  • CB Travis Fisher (hamstring)
  • OT Walter Jones (knee)
  • C Chris Spencer (quadriceps)

In case you lost count, that’s 11 starters. While getting Jones, Spencer, Branch and Fisher back was a step in the right direction, not having Hill, Locklear and Wilson is causing concerns – not to mention more lineup shuffling.

In practice, the coaches used a combination of Jones and Brandon Frye to fill in for Locklear; Owen Schmitt stepped in for Griffith; Craig Terrill lined up in Mebane’s spot, just as he did against the 49ers; David Hawthorne and Will Herring took over for Tatupu and Hill; and Jennings was in for Wilson.

“I don’t know. I don’t even want to guess right now,” Mora said when asked how much longer the team would have to weather this storm of injuries. “Hopefully not much longer. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel with some of these guys.”

Hill, who was injured in the opener, had surgery Friday to repair his torn groin.

“It went very well. They were very encouraged,” Mora said. “When the doctor got in there and looked at it, it didn’t seem to be as severe as they had feared. That doesn’t mean he’ll be back any sooner, because it’s still a significant injury. But he’s back in town. He came back Saturday, and he’s doing really well.”

Hill’s target return date remains the Nov. 1 game against the Cowboys in Dallas.

PRACTICE SQUAD SHUFFLE

Safety Jamar Adams has been re-signed to the practice squad. He was released last week when defensive end Derek Walker was moved to the practice squad to clear a spot on the 53-man roster for linebacker D.D. Lewis.

To make room for Adams, offensive lineman Brian De La Puente was released.

STAT DU JOUR

It’s not so much a stat as a strange situation: The last time wide receivers Nate Burleson and Deion Branch played in a game together was Jan. 12, 2007 – the divisional playoff game against the Packers in Green Bay.

Branch tore the ACL in his left knee in that game and had not completed his rehab by the season opener in 2008, when Burleson was lost for the season after tearing a knee ligament. This season, Branch has been inactive the first two games because of a strained hamstring.

But Branch is practicing this week and scheduled to play against the Bears.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I love playing at home. So, to our fans: Do whatever you’ve got to do this week to get ready for Sunday. If that means you’ve got to start drinking tea with honey in it right now, or taking throat lozenges, whatever it takes to get up for  1:05 on Sunday, then do that. I know this: We need our fans. We need our fans. We are counting on our fans on Sunday, and we’re going to make sure that they can count on us on Sunday.” – Mora, when asked about the advantage of playing at home this week


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