SEATTLE - While quarterback Geno Smith's status will likely remain up in the air this week because of his injured groin, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday he expects cornerback Devon Witherspoon to be available for next Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Witherspoon went down while defending a pass in the first quarter of the Seahawks' loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and did not return. The team announced during the game that he had a lower-back injury. Carroll then called it bruised ribs postgame before clarifying Monday that it's a hip pointer.
"I thought that's what it was," Carroll said. "We found out and took the pictures of it and it's a legitimate hip pointer. He took a knee in the hip and that's what he's dealing with. He was way better today than he was in terms of discomfort, and so hopefully we'll make some good progress on that."
Carroll initially reiterated his point from Sunday that the Seahawks wouldn't know about Witherspoon's status until later in the week before offering a more confident outlook, saying, "I would expect he's going to make it back this week."
Witherspoon and Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter are the leading candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
With their schedule pushed back a day this week because of the Monday night game, Seahawks players have Tuesday and Wednesday off before practice resumes Thursday. Carroll hopes the extra day will help Smith's chances of returning. He missed the 49ers game after injuring his groin in practice last Thursday.
"We'll see how he comes back," Carroll said. "These couple days right here just are so invaluable for him getting all the treatment he gets and then just the rest time."
In Smith's absence, Drew Lock completed 22 of 31 attempt for 269 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Carroll again praised Lock for doing "a lot of really good things," mentioning the poise he showed in his first start in almost two years. Carroll said there were a few throws and decisions Lock would like to have back, including his ball placement on his fist interception. He didn't fault the quarterback on his second pick, noting that Lock was hit as he threw.
"I think that was a pretty normal football game in showing us was what he can do and how he can make things happen and be comfortable in the moment and all that," Carroll said. "He was very poised about this in a most difficult situation. I think that just bodes well for him down the road."
Carroll said cornerback Tre Brown has a "really good" chance to make it back his week after missing the 49ers game because of a heel injury. He said cornerback Artie Burns should be OK as well after leaving the game with a knee injury.
On outside linebacker Frank Clark Sr. not traveling with the team to the Bay Area, Carroll said that was because they had already determined he would be inactive. It was the second time in three games that Clark has been a healthy scratch.
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