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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

August 29, 2012 at 12:26 PM

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James Carpenter progressing, will play this year

RENTON -- James Carpenter may not be on the Seahawks' 53-man roster when the season begins.

He will be back on the field at some point this year, which constitutes progress in his recovery from the season-ending knee injury he suffered after nine games last season.

"He has busted his tail to get back," coach Pete Carroll said, "and we're really, really excited. He's definitely going to play this year. He's definitely going to play. We didn't know that as he went into even July. We weren't sure. But we know that now he's going to play once he's going to get back in and gets his weeks in."

Carpenter was Seattle's first-round draft choice in 2011, selected No. 25 overall. He started the first game at left guard and the next eight at right tackle. He suffered a torn knee ligament during a blocking drill in practice three days after the team's victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

The knee injury was severe enough -- and occurred so late in the year -- there was some question he would be available to play this year.

"We were kind of concerned about him not making early progress in the recovery program," Carroll said. "But he just kind of jumped about six weeks ago, and he's doing a very rigorous workout -- long spells of work on the field -- we're trying to simulate the time that he would practice so three days of week of hard practicing and one more day of really hard work. He's handling it well."

As for where Carpenter comes back on the line? The Seahawks have said he will work at guard when he comes back as opposed to tackle.

The question of when he comes back remains an open one. The Seahawks must trim their roster to 53 players on Friday. Carpenter and cornerback Walter Thurmond are currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which means they have not been cleared to practice. Both can be placed on the PUP list to begin the regular season, and as such they would not count against the team's roster limit of 53, but they also would not be eligible to begin practicing with the team until after Week 6.

So where does Carpenter stand?

"He's not far away from looking like he could practice and play for us," Carroll said. "But it's still, it's a crucial time here and we're going to have to make a big decision on how we do this."

The Seahawks could choose to carry him on the roster to begin the season with the hope he may be ready to play three or four weeks into the regular season or they could start him on PUP and begin practicing him after the sixth game.

"We're trying to figure that out and we don't have to make that decision yet," Carroll said.

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