By Brady Henderson
Back in May, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sounded optimistic about James Carpenter’s chances of playing in 2012 when he told 710 ESPN Seattle that the second-year right tackle was “kind of over the hump” in his recovery from a season-ending knee injury.
That’s no longer likely according to ESPN’s John Clayton, who said during Thursday’s edition of “Cold Hard Facts” that he now doubts Carpenter will play a single snap in 2012.
“That knee was bad,” Clayton said. “It hasn’t really had a full time to heal. I think he’s slow in healing. If they get four games out of him they’re lucky. I don’t think they’re going to get any games out of him.”
Carpenter, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2011, made nine starts before his rookie season ended when he tore his ACL during a pass-rush drill in November. The severity of the injury and the typical timetable for a recovery made it difficult to imagine Carpenter being ready by the start of training camp. The assumption has been that he would begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, making him eligible to return after six weeks.
Here’s what Carroll told “Bob and Groz”on May 24:
“James ran today. That was the first time I saw him run on the practice field, and that’s a really big sign. He’s really moving now. He’s kind of over the hump, and it looks like it’s time to really start pushing with him. I know he’s really excited about it too because it’s been a long haul here up to this point. Now the race is on. Nobody ever thought we should set the date as the first day of the football season, but who knows? We’ll see.”
Losing a starting tackle would be a bigger blow to a team with less depth at that position. The Seahawks re-signed Breno Giacomini — who played well enough after replacing Carpenter to earn a new contract — and the versatile Paul McQuistan earlier this offseason. They’ve also signed tackles Frank Omiyale and Alex Barron.
Missing the season would be another setback in Carpenter’s development, though. He started slow as a rookie while working himself into proper shape. If his knee injury keeps him sidelined for all of 2012, he’ll enter his third NFL season having played just nine games in his career.