Carroll: Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor won't return this season

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks

RENTON -- Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed on Monday that neither defensive end Cliff Avril or strong safety Kam Chancellor will be able to return this season.

Neck injuries are the issue responsible for ending the season for both players. Avril has been out since early October after being injured against the Indianapolis Colts. Chancellor was injured two weeks ago in Arizona against the Cardinals.

Avril is set to undergo surgery on Tuesday to correct a disc issue in his neck. Carroll said Chancellor is not currently thought to need surgery to address his injuries.

"I know you guys want more on that stuff but I'm just trying to respect their situation as much as I can and to give you a little bit opens up the doors for these guys. They don't want to talk about this stuff either right now anymore than they have to," Carroll said.

Carroll wouldn't speculate about the potential of the injuries to end the careers of either player. He did note that some players have not been able to return after the surgery Avril is set to undergo on Tuesday.

"I don't know what the future holds," Carroll said of Avril. "Guys do come back from that surgery sometimes and sometimes they don't. It just depends."

For Chancellor, Carroll said he's not experiencing any discomfort due to the injuries he's sustained. However, the trainers, doctors and Chancellor collectively made the decision that he shouldn't play again this year.

"Not really considering worrying about that right now," Carroll said of whether the injury could end Chancellor's career. "We're just trying to get week to week here. More concerned about just Kam and his mentality and how he's doing. He'll be in charge of all that."

Whether it comes to fruition or not, there's clearly a very real chance that Avril and/or Chancellor have played their last snaps with the Seahawks. 

Chancellor is in his seventh season with Seattle after being a fifth-round pick in 2010. He's been a four-time Pro Bowl selection and has twice been named a second-team All-Pro in his six seasons as a starter for the Seahawks.

Avril is in his 10th season in the NFL and fifth season with the Seahawks after signing as a free agent in 2013. Avril made his first Pro Bowl last season after compiling a career-high 11.5 sacks.

Malik McDowell not expected to play this season:

Second-round pick Malik McDowell is not expected to play this season after an ATV accident in July left him with a serious concussion and additional injuries.

Carroll said Monday that McDowell isn't progressing enough for a return to be a likely scenario.

"I don't think that's happening," Carroll said. "It doesn't seem like it. There's not any progress being made in that direction."

Seattle selected McDowell with the 35th overall pick in May's NFL Draft. The defensive tackle out of Michigan State has spent the entire season on the non-football injury list following the accident that left him with a concussion, facial lacerations and more.

McDowell initially failed to report to the team for the start of training camp following the accident. He was placed on the reserve/did not report list for the first several days of camp before officially reporting and being moved to the non-football injury list. He was not with the team for the majority of training camp as he attended to his injuries.

McDowell has been an intermittent presence in the team's locker room throughout the season. He was cleared to begin working out again in October but has not been able to make the progress necessary to be a possible option this season. It's still unclear whether the injury will keep him from ever playing for the Seahawks.

"I don't know," Carroll said when asked of McDowell's long-term outlook. "I don't have any updates for you."

If McDowell is never on the roster this season he won't accrue a year of service time toward free agency. If he returns and is able to play for Seattle over the final three years of his current contract, he would become only a restricted free agent upon the completion of the 2020 season, pending possible arbitration.

However, that assumes he's able to play at all. The answer to that question remains unknown.

Chris Carson could return this season:

Running back Chris Carson has a chance to return to the roster before the end of the season, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Carson is progressing well after surgery in October to repair a serious high-ankle sprain and small fracture in the upper part of his lower leg.

"He has made tremendous progress," Carroll said. "We don't want to rush him on anything or expectations wise for you guys either, but he has had a great recovery. So we'll see what happens. He's running, changing directions, starting to do some more aggressive stuff this week."

Carson was injured when Indianapolis linebacker Jon Bostic landed on the back of his leg making a tackle. Carson subsequently got bent backward over Bostic with his leg pinned beneath the Colts defender. His healing has been encouraging and there's enough time remaining in the season for Carson to have a chance to return.

"Each staging of it depends on how he responds to it," Carroll said. "This week will be really important and we'll have a lot of information more going forward. There's a chance, so we'll hold out hope for him. I know he's dying to play and he's done everything you can possibly do. He just handled the rehab to this point well beyond expectations so we'll see what that means."

A seventh-round pick, Carson won Seattle's starting running back duties for the first quarter of the season before being injured against the Colts. He remains Seattle's most productive running back this season despite appearing in only four games. He rushed for 208 yards on 49 carries this season. Russell Wilson leads the team in rushing overall with 401 yards on 65 carries.

Carson has spent eight weeks on injured reserve and is eligible to return at any time if he's able. Seattle has not used either of their return designations for players on injured reserve. Carson, running back C.J. Prosise, fullback Tre Madden and tackle Rees Odhiambo are the only likely candidates to return. 

Prosise, Madden and Odhiambo all are unavailable to return until January. All other players on injured reserve, i.e. Richard Sherman (Achilles), Dewey McDonald (ACL), Avril, etc., have injuries too significant to return before the end of the season.

Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 10: Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring a 90 yard touchdown off of an interception in the fourth quarter thrown by Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers iduring the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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