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

September 4, 2012 at 3:56 PM

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Marshawn Lynch's back: Is that a question or a statement

The good news: It doesn't appear that running back Marshawn Lynch will be suspended for the regular-season opener after he was arrested and charged with DUI last month.

That doesn't necessarily guarantee that he'll play, though. Lynch has not practice with the team the past two weeks after suffering from back spasms after the Seahawks' second exhibition game.

Lynch's back has been an issue, and it caused him to miss Seattle's game at Cleveland last year.

Coach Pete Carroll indicated last week that Lynch's had responded well to the rehabilitation and while he wouldn't play in the exhibition finale, he was expected to be ready for the regular season.

Did Lynch suffer a setback since then? If so, no one is saying, but his status for this week is going to be something that's scrutinized on Wednesday when the team begins its preparations for the season-opener.

While Lynch's health may be a question, it appears increasing unlikely that he would be suspended.

Generally, if a player is going to be suspended for an upcoming game, the league tries to notify the team by Monday or Tuesday. There has been no indication that a suspension is coming for Lynch.

That's not necessarily a surprise as a DUI arrest falls under the league's substance-abuse policy, not the personal-conduct policy. The general punishment is a player is fined as much as two game checks for a first offense, but not suspended.

Lynch, however, was previously suspended under the personal-conduct policy, missing three games in 2009, and there was considered a possibility he could face punishment as a repeat offender. However, no one knows what stipulations or guidelines were made by the commissioner at the time of Lynch's suspension, which was 3 1/2 years ago, and the wording of the collective-bargaining agreement indicates further punishment may depend on whether Lynch is found guilty of DUI or pleads to a lesser offense.

Update, 5:25 p.m.: I've gone through the last two times that Carroll addressed Lynch's status.

• After Aug. 27 practice, a workout where Lynch was absent as he was getting treatment. Carroll was asked whether Lynch's back was a long-term concern: "We'll have rested him a couple of weeks to make sure that he's OK. So we're taking care with this one. He has had back conditions kind of in the past. We're just making sure we do the right thing and taking all the time that's available."

• After Aug. 29 walk-through, the day before the Seahawks' exhibition finale against Oakland: "He took a real good turn this week," Carroll said of Lynch. "The rehab that he has been doing has really been effective, so we think he's going to be fine."

It's possible that something else happened in the five days since that statement. It's also possible that nothing has happened and the inference is that Lynch's status isn't any more uncertain than it was last Wednesday when Carroll seemed confident Lynch would be ready for the season.

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The cops were probably out to get him. First, they said he was at .08, barely at... MORE
Ploy for the other teams preparation. Rest him up it's a long season. At least we have... MORE
What exactly are back spasms & how does it prevent you from playing? MORE

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