By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – It’s still too soon to say when receiver Percy Harvin will be back on the field for the Seahawks, but not tight end Zach Miller.
He will be activated off the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list Friday, according to coach Pete Carroll, and Miller’s practice regimen will be escalated next week as he comes back from a foot injury that cropped up in June.
Zach Miller has been sidelined during training camp with a sore foot. (AP)
“Next week, he’ll be much more involved,” Carroll said. “Again, we’ll continue to be very measured how we bring him back in. It’s great to have him back and he’s ready to go.”
Miller is coming off the best game of his career as he caught eight passes for 142 yards at Atlanta despite suffering a torn fascia early in the game. Miller’s current injury is in the same foot, but unrelated. Rookie Luke Willson, the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick, is the team’s first-unit tight end in Miller’s absence.
As for Harvin, he is back with the team, returning earlier this week after undergoing hip surgery on Aug. 1. It’s too soon to say he’s ahead of schedule, though, because Carroll said it’s too soon to know what the schedule might be.
“It’s going to take a good month before you can be able to figure out if he’s even going to have a chance to come roaring back out of it,” Carroll said. “But it looks like all the signs are very good.”
The initial projection was Harvin would remain in New York for the first two weeks after surgery. He was back Monday, walking out onto the practice field toward the end of the team’s practice.
“We just know that the surgeon that did the work is the specialist [and] was thrilled with the way he came back the days right after the surgery,” Carroll said. “And his ability to get range of motion and things were way ahead of schedule.”
Carroll coy on injured Seahawks
The preseason is no time to draw conclusions.
That’s as true for the injury reports as it is for the game results as Carroll said there were a number of players who hadn’t yet been ruled out for Saturday’s preseason game against Denver.
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who missed two weeks with a groin injury before returning to practice Friday?
“I want to see what they say,” Carroll said. “He got to work today. So he’s not out yet, either.”
How about running back Christine Michael, who had missed time earlier this week with a sore back but returned Friday?
“He has not been ruled out,” Carroll said.
Is defensive end Cliff Avril out as he returned to practice Wednesday after missing more than two weeks with a hamstring injury?
“Not in my mind,” Carroll said.
Of course, he didn’t say they were playing, either.
A mountain out of Hill?
The Seahawks will still have a rookie starting at defensive tackle again this week. The difference is that it’s Jordan Hill, not Jesse Williams.
“Jordan has had a really good week again,” Carroll said. “He played actively in the first game. He’ll get the start in this game. We’ll see him out there first. He’ll also play on third downs so we’ll get a great look at him.”
Phil Bates, fullback?
Three years ago, Phil Bates was a college quarterback at the University of Ohio.
He moved to receiver that season, a position he played on Seattle’s practice squad last year, and now he’s in the backfield again. As a fullback.
“He’s a big kid, he’s 233 pounds when we started this experiment, moving him to fullback,” Carroll said. “He’s a really good all-around football player. He’ll be 240 within another week.”
But still, fullback?
“We love that he’s really fast, and he’s a terrific catcher,” Carroll said of Bates. “If he could work out, then we might be able to develop a player.”
There’s a precedent for this kind of move, a name that football fans in Seattle are familiar with. Marcel Reese played receiver at Washington only to become a starting fullback with the Raiders. In fact, he had a huge play in Oakland’s victory over Carroll’s Seahawks in 2010.
“If you remember, he beat us running a slant route being shifted out of the backfield,” Carroll said of Reese. “So we have that thought in the back of our mind, too.”
• Golden Tate will be the first punt returner used Saturday while Jermaine Kearse will get Seattle’s first crack at returning a kickoff.