RENTON, Wash. >> Center Max Unger is returning to Seattle’s lineup against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday and the Seahawks hope he will bolster a patchwork offensive line that has been struggling.
One of three starters missing up front, Unger, who grew up on Hawaii island, has been out the last two weeks with a strained triceps. Left tackle Russell Okung is out at least five more weeks with a sprained toe, while right tackle Breno Giacomini was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game after having knee surgery last week.
The Seahawks have struggled up front, particularly in pass protection, the past two weeks. Paul McQuistan, a natural guard, has played at left tackle, while Lemuel Jeanpierre replaced Unger and rookie Michael Bowie filled in at right tackle.
The Seahawks hope Unger’s return will provide a steadying presence up front.
“He’s a tremendous captain out there on the field for all of identification, all of the signals, all of the stuff we need,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Great awareness to help the other guys. He helps people around him to play better and that’s a big factor and it’s obvious when he’s out there.”
Carroll believes Unger’s return will help take some pressure off Russell Wilson as well.
“(Wilson) and Max have a conversation together as they identify stuff and talk through it that wasn’t there,” Carroll said. Russell worked with (Jeanpierre) but it’s not the same, so that does take the burden off of Russell, which is a good thing. That’s what Max’s job is all about.”
Zach Miller is questionable and will be a game-time decision for Seattle. Miller missed last week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts after straining a hamstring in practice. Though he didn’t practice, Carroll said Miller has progressed this week and has a chance to play.
“Zach is really close,” Carroll said. “Zach ran very well this week. We rested him today. He’s got a chance.”
It doesn’t appear that the same will apply to Bobby Wagner. Wagner suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Colts and hasn’t been able to practice. He’s listed as doubtful and Carroll described his chances of playing as an “outside chance if you’re really optimistic.”
Marshawn Lynch didn’t practice Friday and is listed as questionable with a hip injury, but Carroll said Lynch is fine and expects him to play. Sidney Rice was also held out of Friday’s practice with a knee issue, but will play against the Titans.
NOTES: RB Spencer Ware (ankle) was officially ruled out for the fourth straight game with a high-ankle sprain. … CB Walter Thurmond (knee), DE Michael Bennett (quadriceps) and CB Jeremy Lane (hamstring) all fully participated in practice Friday and are listed a probable.