By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – The center of Seattle’s offense is expected back this week with Max Unger coming back from a triceps injury, but the middle of the defense is a question mark.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner did not practice Wednesday after suffering a high ankle sprain during Sunday’s game in Indianapolis. Coach Pete Carroll said his status for this week has not been determined.
“He thinks he can make it by game time,” Carroll said of Wagner. “This will go all the way until Sunday.”
If Wagner is unable to play, the most likely switch is to have K.J. Wright move to middle linebacker and start Malcolm Smith at the weakside spot Wright normally plays.
“K.J. has got flexibility and Malcolm can jump right in there,” Carroll said. “Malcolm has been starting games for us so we really don’t feel like we lose too much in terms of the system and the background and how to play our stuff.”
Wagner has 34 tackles this season, second-most on the team, and Carroll said that while he would certainly be missed if he were out a week or two, the return of Bruce Irvin from suspension will mitigate some of that impact.
“We’re real excited that Bruce came back,” Carroll said. “Bruce played very well last week as we go back and look at it. His addition will help that group in general as well, and it gives us a little more flexibility in some other things we can do because he’s back. We’re pretty well schooled so we shouldn’t drop off much.”
Harvin unlikely to play next week
Percy Harvin is eligible to play as soon as Seattle’s game at Arizona next Thursday. He’s just not expected to play in that game.
“I don’t think that’s realistic,” Carroll said. “I think that’s too soon to expect that to happen.”
Harvin is coming back from hip surgery, which was performed on Aug. 1. He was evaluated by the doctor who performed the surgery last week, and Harvin’s recovery is progressing quickly.
But that recovery is something the Seahawks and Carroll have declined to put a timetable on, and the team could wait as late as December before adding him to the roster.
“When he comes back, we want him to be ready to endure the rigors of the end of the season,” Carroll said. “So it’s not important to rush him back. It’s important to wait it out and be patient and get him out there when he’s ready to go, and he can withstand the load of the game.”
• Running back Marshawn Lynch sat out Wednesday’s practice, but the absence was not injury related. He also sat out last week’s Wednesday practice, which is the likely protocol for the rest of the season.
• Unger practiced without limitation Wednesday and the Seahawks are expecting him to play after missing the past two weeks with a triceps injury. Unger had played 29 consecutive games before suffering the injury.
• Defensive lineman Michael Bennett did not practice Wednesday because of a thigh bruise suffered in Sunday’s game.
• Running back Spencer Ware, who has not played the past two games because of an ankle injury, still is not practicing. Neither is cornerback Jeremy Lane, who has a hamstring injury.
• Right tackle Breno Giacomini is back with the team this week after undergoing knee surgery last week, but he did not practice Wednesday and is not expected to be ready for this week’s game. Rookie Michael Bowie is likely to start his third game.
• Cornerback Walter Thurmond did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury.