By Brady Henderson
RENTON – All-Pro center Max Unger is expected to make his return to Seattle’s starting lineup Sunday, and there’s a chance that tight end Zach Miller might join him.
The Seahawks will likely be without middle linebacker Bobby Wagner when they host the Titans at CenturyLink Field, but all indications are that the man in the middle of their offensive line will return after missing the last two games with a triceps injury.
“Max had a good week. He’ll be playing,” coach Pete Carroll said Friday.
Less certain is the status of Miller, who missed Seattle’s loss to Indianapolis because of a hamstring injury that cropped up days before. He has not practiced this week, which typically doesn’t bode well for a player’s chances of playing, but Carroll was encouraged by the progress Miller has made.
“Zach’s really close,” Carroll said. “Zach ran very well this week. We rested him today. He’s got a chance. We’re going to work him out on game day.”
Miller is listed as questionable, a designation that equates to a 50 percent chance of playing.
Running back Marshawn Lynch is also listed as questionable, but Carroll said the hip injury that kept him out of practice Friday is nothing serious.
“We were treating him for a little hip thing, but he’s fine,” Carroll said.
Wagner, listed as doubtful, is a virtual lock to miss Sunday’s game because of a sprained ankle that kept him from practicing this week. That means K.J. Wright will slide inside to middle linebacker while Malcolm Smith will assume Wright’s weakside linebacker spot.
While that linebacker shuffle isn’t ideal for a defense that’s coming off its worst performance of the season, neither player will be playing an entirely new position. Wright started at middle linebacker in Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011, while Smith played on the weakside his first two seasons in Seattle and at USC, where he was coached by Carroll.
“He’s been doing it for years. We’ve been coaching Malcolm since he was a fourth grader,” Carroll joked, “so he’s deep into our system.”
Unger will return to an offensive line that has also been without both its starting tackles the past two games.
“He’s a huge addition to us,” Carroll said. “Because he’s grown up with the system and with (offensive-line coach Tom Cable), he’s a tremendous captain out there on the field for all of the identification and all the signals and all the stuff we need, great awareness to help the other guys. He helps people around him play better and it’s a big factor and it’s obvious when he’s out there.”
• RT Breno Giacomini and RB Spencer Ware will not play.
• WR Sidney Rice, CB Walter Thurmond, DL Michael Bennett and CB Jeremy Lane and Unger are listed as probable.