RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks are getting leading rusher Kenneth Walker III back from his ankle injury for Thursday night’s NFC West showdown with the San Francisco 49ers at Lumen Field.
He did not have a game designation on their final injury report, indicating that he’s expected to play.
Walker missed the Seahawks’ loss to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday as well as the second half of their victory over the Los Angeles Rams the week before after jamming his ankle.
Coach Pete Carroll wouldn’t declare that Walker would play against the 49ers when he met with reporters Wednesday afternoon, but he said the rookie second-round pick “finished the week doing well” in practice.
The Seahawks estimated Walker as a limited participant on Monday, when they held a walk-through, and listed him as a full participant Tuesday and Wednesday.
“He did really well,” Carroll said. “I was really pleased, and he looked really quick out here.”
The Seahawks list one of Walker’s backups, DeeJay Dallas, as questionable with an ankle injury of his own. Defensive tackle Al Woods, safety Ryan Neal, backup cornerback Tre Brown and backup safety Joey Blount are also questionable. Dallas, Woods and Neal were listed as nonparticipants all week.
Walker leads all rookies with nine rushing touchdowns and ranks second with 449 rushing yards (4.7-yard average). The Seahawks’ run game has been held to fewer than 70 yards in three of the team’s past four games, including only 46 against the Panthers while Walker and Dallas were both sidelined.
Seattle’s run defense has been problematic as well, allowing at least 150 rushing yards in four straight games. Woods, who has been one of the Seahawks’ best run defenders, missed the second half against Carolina after hurting his Achilles, while Neal played through a knee injury. Carroll said Wednesday that he’d like newly acquired safety Johnathan Abram to play more than the four defensive snaps he got in the Panthers game.
The 49ers have ruled out star receiver Deebo Samuel and list quarterback Brock Purdy as questionable. Veteran quarterback Josh Johnson, signed by the 49ers after Jimmy Garoppolo injured his foot, would start if Purdy misses the game. The Seahawks had Johnson in for a free agent visit in 2018.
“We’ve had him through, and Josh has been everywhere,” Carroll said. “We’ve seen him play for a number of teams. He’s always been a real accomplished vet. He’s a great kid, really a complement to your program. So, if they go that way, he’ll bank on his experience and he’ll play really smart and run that team well, I’m sure.”
After losing three of their past four, the Seahawks are two games behind the 49ers in the NFC West and have also fallen below the Washington Commanders and New York Giants in the race for a wild-card spot.
They need to win Thursday night to keep any hope alive of winning the division. The 49ers beat the Seahawks 27-7 in Week 2 and will clinch the NFC West division title with a victory.
“These guys happen to be in first place … in our division and they’re playing great,” Carroll said. “If you’re going to have a good year, you have to win games like this. You have to win them. You have to find your way through the great challenges. … They’ve got a great run going. What’s been really impressive about that is they’ve done it with different guys. They have some guys banged up, and they’ve really been able to maintain their level of play. … This is just a really good team. This is what it takes. It’s a great matchup.”
Seahawks to get top RB Kenneth Walker III back vs. 49ers