January 14, 2016
Seattle Seahawks Rumors: Marshawn Lynch Could Play Against Panthers, According To Latest Injury Update

Rumors regarding the status of Seattle Seahawks All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch for Sunday's divisional round playoff game against the Carolina Panthers have been running rampant in recent days, but it appears as though there may finally be some clarity. As reported by The Inquisitr last week, Lynch was ruled out late in the week for the Seahawks game against the Minnesota Vikings because of an abdominal injury, and it shocked everyone since he was expected to be in the lineup.

While nothing is certain until Lynch is actually on the field and in uniform on Sunday, things are looking up for the five-time Pro Bowler. According to the Seattle Times, Lynch was back at practice on Wednesday, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is optimistic about his chances of playing. Before Wednesday's practice, Carroll spoke to reporters about the latest update on Lynch's injury.
"I think we are going day-to-day is how we will do this. Evaluate the next day (after each practice) and see how it goes. But I can tell he's encouraged to go forward again and see if we can get it done."
Since Carroll's interview came before Lynch actually practiced on Wednesday, he was unsure about how he would look in practice compared to last week.
"We'll see. I don't know how to tell you that. We haven't practice yet. I can't tell."
Lynch ended up being a full participant in practice, which is always a positive sign for an injured player on a Wednesday before a game. Lynch was a full participant in practice last week though, and ended up telling the team that he would not be able to play on Friday. Whether or not this happens again remains to be seen, but he has had an additional week to heal his abdominal injury.
Seahawks.com confirmed that Lynch was a full participant in practice, and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told reporters that he looked better than last week.
"He looks good. I can't judge each and every day, but probably one of the best days that he had out here today. He's in there, he's moving around, he's making more cuts, probably a little bit more tempo to it as well, so we'll just continue to go day to day with it. We don't just want him to go in and have a couple plays and be done. We want him to be able to finish a game and continue to play, and I think that's what he's trying to get a feel for."
While the 29-year-old running back is getting up there in age for a player of his position, Lynch was extremely productive during the 2014 season when he was fully healthy. In seven games this season, he has a disappointing 3.8 yards per carry and only three touchdowns. While he will still be dealing with the aftermath of his abdominal injury if he is in the lineup against the Carolina Panthers, he will have fresh legs.

In 2014, his 280 carries were his lowest since 2010. With only 111 carries this season, his legs could be ready for a deep playoff run. While backup Seahawks running backs Christine Michael and Bryce Brown have shown very brief flashes of brilliance, they have nowhere near the upside that Lynch has.

In the Seattle Seahawks close victory against the Vikings last week, Michael rushed for a dismal 70 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Russell Wilson rushed for 21 yards on five carries, and Brown did not get any carries. While Wilson is having the greatest season of his career as a passer, he is going to need Lynch in the lineup to balance the offense if the Seahawks have any hopes of getting to another Super Bowl.

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for PSD Underwear)

According to NFL.com, the Panthers' defense allowed an average of 88.4 yards per game rushing during the 2015 regular season, which was the fourth lowest in the entire league. If the Seahawks are to have any chance of establishing a running game against such a stout defense, Lynch is going to have to be in the lineup.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Seahawks are only 2.5-point underdogs against the 15-1 Carolina Panthers. Many experts are also picking them to pull off the upset, and that is with Lynch's status uncertain. If the rumors are true and Marshawn Lynch is able to play Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks are going to have a real chance of advancing to the next round of the playoffs.

[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Image]