The Seahawks today confirmed that left tackle Russell Okung will go on the Injured Reserve-Designated to Return list with a torn ligament in his left big toe. That means he will be out at least eight games — by rule he cannot return until a Nov. 17 home game against Minnesota.
However, it also means he avoids the worst-case scenario of being out for the season.
“It’s a 6-8 week injury and we will hope that that will all work out right for us,” coach Pete Carroll said today. “He’s kind of excited about the fact that he has a chance to get back this season as we are as well, so we will just ride it out, see what happens, take good care of him and hopefully be is able to make it.”
Teams can place one player a season on the IR-Designated to Return list, and the Seahawks will use that this year on Okung. By rule, he cannot practice for six weeks from Friday, and then cannot return to play until eight weeks from Friday.
The team said Okung got a second opinion from Dr. James Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.
In better news, Carroll also said defensive end Chris Clemons will be able to play Sunday against Jacksonville, back on the field for the first time since tearing his ACL in the playoff win over Washington.
“I’m really excited to tell you that Chris is going to play this week,” Carroll said. “We’re really thrilled for him and it means the world to Chris that he gets back. He had great preparation, a fantastic recovery process. … I’m really fired up that he gets to join us.”
Carroll said Clemons’ will be monitored during the game, meaning he likely won’t play as much as he will down the road. But he said it’s not a conditioning issue, saying of Clemons that “he is in as good of shape as anybody we have on the football team right now to carry a big load. We’ll make sure that we get him in and out of there.”
Also back this week will be cornerback Brandon Browner, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Browner said he is “100 percent” after almost making it back last week.
“He practiced all week, did a good job,” Carroll said.
Carroll said LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) has a chance to play this week but that FB Spencer Ware is likely out with a high ankle sprain. If Smith cannot go, O’Brien Schofield will get the start (Mike Morgan also plays that spot). And with Ware out, Christine Michael would be active and likely to see his first career action.
UPDATE — Here’s some video of Carroll’s meeting with the media today: