BRADY HENDERSON

Seahawks’ Michael Bennett listed as questionable but expected to play vs Panthers

Dec 2, 2016, 1:22 PM | Updated: 5:11 pm

Michael Bennett has missed the last five games because of a knee injury. (AP)...

Michael Bennett has missed the last five games because of a knee injury. (AP)

(AP)

RENTON – It’s looking like the Seahawks will indeed have four defensive starters as well as center Justin Britt back for Sunday night’s game against Carolina.

That group includes defensive lineman Michael Bennett even though he’s listed as questionable. Bennett has missed the last five games with a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery. Coach Pete Carroll said at the start of the week that he should play Sunday night as long as he makes it through the week of practice without issue, which he apparently did.

Bennett was listed as a full participant Wednesday and then limited Thursday and Friday.

“He did fine,” Carroll said. “We rested a little bit today just to make sure that we don’t overdo him in back-to-back days, so he’ll be ready to play.”

And so Bennett will join three other defensive starters who will be back Sunday night.

Free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback DeShawn Shead both missed last week’s game with strained hamstrings while strong-side linebacker Mike Morgan has been out for two months following groin surgery. He’s been practicing with the team since he was designated for return off Injured Reserve two and a half weeks ago. He’s been ready physically, but but Sunday night’s game will be the first he’s eligible to play in as players must miss eight weeks before returning from IR.

Britt missed last week’s game with a sprained ankle.

“It does feel good to have guys coming back,” Carroll said. “We’re really proud of the guys who stepped up and played in place of people who were out, but it feels good. These guys are pumped up and we’re looking forward to it.”

Morgan’s return is timely with Seattle ruling out Brock Coyle and Jordan Tripp, who have both seen time this year at strong-side linebacker. Coyle has a foot injury while Tripp has what Carroll called a deep quad bruise in addition to a knee issue that the team will have to take a look at. Seattle will have to subtract one player from its 53-man roster in order to activate Morgan, so if Tripp’s injuries are serious, he could be a candidate for IR.

Wide receiver Paul Richardson is also out due to a hamstring injury that kept him from practicing this week.

“It’s kind of an ongoing and it just kind of got aggravated more so,” Carroll said. “He was able to finish the game but still felt it coming out and we just couldn’t get him back this week.”

Running back Troymaine Pope is listed as questionable, but Carroll said he’s ready to play Sunday night after missing the last game with an ankle injury. Tight end Luke Willson and defensive end Damontre Moore are also questionable. Willson didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and was limited Friday due to a sprained knee, so he would seem to be on the doubtful side of questionable. Moore sat out Wednesday due to a bruised foot then was a full participant Thursday and limited Friday.

“We’ll go all the way to game time with him, but he did practice yesterday and today and it was a really good sign that he showed that he has a chance to get back,” Carroll said of Moore. “He looked like he has a chance to play, but we’ll have to see what happens on game day.”

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