Injury to right guard Max Unger's toe forces Seahawks to make adjustments on offensive line
Thin offensive line could see Ben Hamilton and Mike Gibson make changes. The Seahawks also will have linebacker Leroy Hill back after he was suspended for Sunday's opener.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ Denver, 1:05 p.m. Ch. 13
RENTON — The Seahawks expect to be missing another offensive lineman this week after right guard Max Unger suffered a toe injury, but they will get a former starting linebacker back as Leroy Hill is expected to return from his season-opening suspension.
Considering the instability along Seattle's offensive line over the past few weeks, it's not a fair trade, but Seattle doesn't have much choice.
Unger suffered an injury to his left toe early in Sunday's victory, but finished the game.
"He just toughed it out," coach Pete Carroll said. "It's going to be really difficult to make it back this game."
Unger was wearing a plastic protective boot in the Seahawks locker room. Team policy generally prohibits interviewing a player who is injured.
Carroll declined to specify who would replace Unger in the lineup. Ben Hamilton figures to be first in line though it's also possible Hamilton could step in at left guard and starter Mike Gibson could move to right guard. Gibson suffered a lower back strain in Sunday's game, but is expected to be fine. He was replaced by Hamilton in the second half.
Hill was suspended for Sunday's opener against San Francisco for violating the league's policy on substance abuse, the result of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge in Georgia. He will also be fined an additional game check, but Carroll indicated the team was told Monday that Hill should be available for this week's game.
"We're pleased to have him back and we're going to get him to play," Carroll said. "He's not coming back to sit. He's coming back to play."
Hill will not start the game, Carroll said, but he will have a role. David Hawthorne started Sunday at weakside linebacker, which was Hill's spot the previous five seasons. Hawthorne suffered a back injury Sunday, which resulted in more action for Will Herring. Carroll said Monday that Hawthorne is fine to play this week.
Hill's status for the Week 2 game at Denver was a question because he could face additional discipline after he was arrested in Issaquah in April and charged with fourth-degree assault/domestic violence after an argument with his live-in girlfriend.
Hill, who turns 28 Tuesday, avoided trial on that charge, agreeing to a court-stipulated continuance. If he complies with all the court conditions for the next 18 months, the charge will be dismissed. While it is not a guilty plea or a conviction, the league has previously disciplined players for similar agreements.
• Left tackle Russell Okung is expected to begin running this week as he rehabilitates from a high ankle sprain suffered a month ago. A timetable for his return to practice has not been set.
• Tyler Polumbus remains the starting left tackle as Chester Pitts continues working his way toward game shape. Pitts was inactive Sunday.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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