Center Max Unger #60 of the Seattle Seahawks gets ready to snap the ball during the first quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on December 23, 2012 in Seattle,Wa. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The Seattle Seahawks appear likely to have to face DE J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans on Sunday without three starters along their offensive line.
T Breno Giacomini and C Max Unger are both listed as doubtful to play in Houston. T Russell Okung is already out as he was placed on the short-term injured reserve list with a sprained toe ligament last week. It leaves the Seahawks line substantially short-handed against the league's second-ranked defense.
Head coach Pete Carroll emphasized that they are trying to be cautious with both Giacomini and Unger and won't push things if they aren't ready to play.
"When (our players) are getting banged up, we're trying to really give them every chance to get back and utilize our depth and if that's what this calls for then we're ready to do that," Carroll said. "We're not going to force guys back out there until they're ready to play."
Both Giacomini and Unger sustained injuries last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Giacomini left the game in the second quarter after a knee issue worsened during the game.
"He did get kind of whacked last week on the same knee so it is a bit of an extension of what he had. We got to see how he bounces back," Carroll said.
Unger has a triceps injury that he managed to play through last week. He had been checked out by the training staff but ultimately remained in the game with the rest of the starters.
"We're just trying to get through and really protect him and make sure that we're making all the right choices," Carroll said.
If Giacomini and Unger can't play, C Lemuel Jeanpierre is expected to get the start at center with rookie T Michael Bowie getting the call at right tackle. Carroll said they were being cautious with both players and will evaluate them before the game Sunday before ultimately making a final decision. Giacomini did not practice this week while Unger was limited the last two days.
Jeanpierre started five games for Seattle in 2011 at center and right guard. Bowie's first game action came in place of Giacomini last week and Carroll is excited to see how he can perform if he has to start against Houston on Sunday.
"There's nothing about Michael's place that hasn't excited us," Carroll said. "He's just been coming along so fast. He's going to be a lot better later when he gets more time to learn what's going on but he's physically capable of doing this. The more he gets to play now, the stronger we'll be down the road so we look at it as a real positive for him and we know he can play good football."
RB Spencer Ware (ankle), DT Jordan Hill (biceps) and S Jeron Johnson (hamstring) have all been officially ruled out.
LB Tim Dobbins (hamstring) - DNP
T Duane Brown (toe) - DNP
CB Kareem Jackson (illness) - Limited
CB Johnathan Joseph (toe) - Limited
LB Darryl Sharpton (hip/foot) - Limited
WR Andre Johnson (shin) - Limited
LB Brian Cushing (knee/ankle) - Full
RB Arian Foster (thumb) - Full
CB Brice McCain (knee) - Full
CB Chris Myers (back) - Full
T Derek Newton (knee/calf) - Full
WR DeVier Posey (Achilles) - Full
QB Matt Schaub (ankle) - Full
RB Ben Tate (shoulder) - Full
TE Owen Daniels (non-injury) - Full
TE Garrett Graham (hip/groin) - Full
S Ed Reed (hip) - Full
G Wade Smith (knee) - Limited
S Eddie Pleasant (hamstring) - Full
RB Spencer Ware (ankle) - DNP
DT Jordan Hill (biceps) - Limited
S Jeron Johnson (hamstring) - DNP
T Breno Giacomini (knee) - DNP
C Max Unger (arm) - Limited
CB Brandon Browner (hamstring) - Full
LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) - Full
WR Jermaine Kearse (ankle) - Full
DE Red Bryant (back) - Full
DE Michael Bennett (groin) - Full
G J.R. Sweezy (back) - Full