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Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
KIRKLAND It had been shaping up to be the week of Jerry Rice's return to the Bay, the first time he was to go back to where he spent 19-plus NFL seasons, the first time the Seahawks wide receiver would play a road game for a team outside of Oakland and San Francisco.
The Seahawks head to San Francisco for a game Sunday, but an injury might prevent Rice from being a part of it.
Rice has a wrap over his right ankle, which was sprained in the second quarter on Rice's only catch Sunday in Seattle's 23-17 win over Carolina. Rice tried to keep the ankle from tightening up on the sideline, but he never got back into the game.
His status for this week's game is uncertain. Rice did not take part in the team's run yesterday. If Rice plays, he said he won't be affected by emotion or nostalgia.
"It's just going to be another game and another game we need to win," Rice said. "I look at every game about the same: Just go in there, take care of business and come back home."
Assuming he plays, Rice figures he knows what to expect from the crowd at Monster (formerly Candlestick) Park, where he spent 119 regular-season Sundays over 16 years. Rice and his family continue to live in the south Bay Area in the offseason.
"You'll have some cheers and some boos," he said. "I'm still looking for that game. I had some bad luck. I felt real comfortable the last ballgame. I knew exactly what to do, felt good on the football field running and then I got an ankle sprain.
"It's good to be going back home, but I'm a Seahawk now, and I want to win and get this team on a roll."
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Rice wants to play.
"He's revered in the Bay Area and rightfully so," Holmgren said. "I sure hope he can play."
Starting left guard Steve Hutchinson's sprained right ankle was, however.
"It's feeling a lot better than it was (Sunday)," Hutchinson said. "It'll be day to day."
Hutchinson was injured after being hit from behind in the second quarter Sunday. He tried to continue playing but didn't finish the game. He had an MRI yesterday morning.
Wide receiver Darrell Jackson injured his right ankle after a catch in the first quarter when he was tackled by the Panthers' Artrell Hawkins. Jackson finished the game but was also on crutches yesterday.
Also, receiver Alex Bannister, whose special-teams play has been invaluable, could be placed on injured reserve with the broken right collarbone he suffered trying to make a catch in the end zone Sunday. Bannister is expected to be out at least eight weeks.
"As far as treating it, you really can't do anything," Bannister said. "You just have to wait for it to heal."
"We'll miss him," said Holmgren, who expects to make roster moves this week.
The Seahawks could sign a receiver off the practice squad to fill Bannister's spot on the 53-man roster if he is placed on injured reserve. The Seahawks have three receivers they feel they can count on: Jerheme Urban, Taco Wallace and Jason Willis.
Holmgren said he would know more about the status of the injured players tomorrow when practice opens for the week.
No Robinson suspension yet
The Seahawks aren't allowing Koren Robinson to comment on his impending four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. But the wide receiver did speak to his hometown newspaper last week, admitting he is appealing the league's suspension.
"Once everything comes out, I think everything will be fine everything will be justified," Robinson told the Gaston Gazette in North Carolina.
Yesterday, Holmgren noted Robinson's improvement in the Seahawks' past two games, which coincided with the arrival of Rice. The two have been sharing snaps at the same position, but Holmgren said Rice was helping Robinson "maybe in ways he doesn't even know yet."
"I'm a Koren Robinson fan," Holmgren said. "I like the guy a lot. He's played well the last two weeks; he really has. I'm proud of him. Really. Because there's a lot of stuff going on."
Robinson didn't drop any passes, catching three for 52 yards against Carolina. The week before, in a loss at Arizona, Robinson caught two passes and dropped two. Robinson has 10 drops this season.
WR Bobby Engram (sprained left ankle) and LB Anthony Simmons (shoulder surgery) might play this week, Holmgren said. They have missed the past two games.
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