Robert Gallery, Sidney Rice listed as doubtful for Seahawks' opener
Offensive lineman Robert Gallery and receiver Sidney Rice, two of the Seahawks' key free-agent signings, are unlikely to play in the season opener Sunday at San Francisco.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle @ San Francisco, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13
RENTON — Robert Gallery, the veteran handpicked to stabilize Seattle's young offensive line, is doubtful for Sunday's season opener because of a sprained knee.
Sidney Rice, signed to be the No. 1 receiver the Seahawks have been seeking for more than a year, is also unlikely to play in Game 1 at San Francisco on Sunday.
This isn't exactly how Seattle planned to start this season, with half of the free-agent starters it signed on offense likely out. And while Rice will certainly be missed, it's Gallery's absence that will have the largest trickle-down effect.
Ben Obomanu steps in to start for Rice, but for Gallery, it's rookie James Carpenter who is prepared to start at left guard, a position he practiced at for the first time as a Seahawk on Monday.
But the Seahawks saw something in those repetitions. Carpenter is left-handed and he played on the left side of the line in college at Alabama, and now he appears poised to start next to left tackle Russell Okung.
"Russell needs to help him out," coach Pete Carroll said. "In this case, Russell's the seasoned veteran."
Yep, that's because he has started an NFL regular-season game. Ten of them in fact, which actually qualifies him as the second-most experienced starter on Seattle's offensive line. Center Max Unger has 17 regular-season starts. He suffered a toe injury in Week 1 last year, which necessitated season-ending surgery.
Rookie John Moffitt will start at right guard, and Breno Giacomini is likely to start at right tackle. While this is Giacomini's fourth season in the NFL after being chosen in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, this would be his first NFL start.
"We're just young," Carroll said. "That's what it is. I'm thrilled about that. In one way to look at it, if these guys can go out there and play NFL football this early and if we can hold up and start growing, we're going to get way better."
The question of when Rice will be better remains open. He suffered a shoulder injury in training camp during a one-on-one drill against a cornerback. He missed the first exhibition game, returned to play the next two, then was unable to finish practice Aug. 29 and has not practiced since.
Carroll said he doesn't think Rice's shoulder injury is as serious as the one suffered by tight end John Carlson, which required season-ending surgery, but there's still a degree of uncertainty about Rice's recovery.
"Probably by the end of next week we'll know if he's really responding," Carroll said. "He feels way better."
Gallery and Rice are listed as doubtful, which translates to a less than 25 percent chance of playing.
Defensive end Chris Clemons missed practice for the second consecutive day but is expected to play after suffering an ankle injury during a walk-through session Thursday.
Middle linebacker David Hawthorne is listed as probable, which means he's almost certain to be available for regular duty. He might not start, though, as rookie K.J. Wright has practiced with the first-unit defense all week.
"We'll just go up to game time with that," Carroll said.
Defensive line help on the way?
The Seahawks are expected to add defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to the 53-man roster on Saturday. Hargrove indicated on his Twitter account that he was in Seattle and joining the team.
Hargrove was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams. A third-round pick, he played three seasons in St. Louis before he was traded to Buffalo. He played the previous two seasons with the New Orleans Saints and was with the Philadelphia Eagles in training camp.
The Seahawks had not announced a transaction, but will have to release a player to make room for Hargrove.
Hargrove would be eligible to play Sunday if he is added to the 53-man roster Saturday.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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