Doug Baldwin, Justin Britt back at practice; Earl Thomas saga continues

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks

RENTON -- Wide receiver Doug Baldwin and center Justin Britt returned to practice Wednesday for the Seahawks.

Baldwin has missed the last two games after sustaining an MCL injury in the team's season opener against the Denver Broncos. 

"Yeah. He's going to practice today," head coach Pete Carroll said. "It's a great step and jump for him to make. He was in the walkthrough today, he'll practice for the first time in a few weeks and he looks really good and light on his feet and he's very confident that he can have a chance to play this week so we'll see how it goes. He's confident. That's not a surprise. We've got to see if he can pull it off."

"I've got to see him. He hasn't practiced going full speed yet so we'll find out. But I'm really hopeful he can do that. He's really determined. It's been a frustrating process for him and he's dying to get back out there so hopefully he can pull that together."

Baldwin was listed as limited in his first practice back in two weeks. He also came into the season dealing with a lingering issue with his other knee that forced him to miss the entire preseason. Carroll said they'll have to see how he responds and what they need to do to make sure Baldwin is managed appropriately.

"We’ll work our way through it and we’ll just assess how he’s doing and how it’s going," Carroll said. "It’s a little bit unknown how it’s going to feel after a day’s work right now, and then the next day and put a game under our belt, then we’ll go to the next week. We’ll figure it out how is he by Wednesday. We don’t know that stuff yet. We’re going to take it one step at a time. 

"He’s such a great competitor and he’s so determined to be part of it. He’s going to work his way through this. We got to watch him because he has a tendency to go over the top because he’s so aggressive. We’re going to monitor it and really bank on the fact that he’s such a great competitor that he’s going to be able to figure it out and put it together."

Britt didn't play on the offensive line last week due to right shoulder injury. Joey Hunt played all of the snaps at center against Dallas, though Britt did play on special teams. Britt was a fully participant in Wednesday's practice with Hunt actually sitting out due to a hip issue.

Britt is expected to start against Arizona this week.

Left guard Ethan Pocic was still sidelined due to an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Cowboys game. Carroll said that Pocic would have to make significant strides to unseat J.R. Sweezy for this week's game.

"Pocic is way better today. His ankle feels a lot better. He's hoping he can play this week. That's what's in his mind (and) we talked about earlier," Carroll said.

"It's going to have to show itself that he's really ready to go for us to change. Those guys did a good job and we don't need to rush him back under these circumstances. We're just getting started with D.J. back in and (Sweezy) on the other side. I don't expect that he would just jump right back in because he can't practice today so that's going to be hard for him to get back that fast. But he might be available on game day."

As the Earl turns: Thomas sits out practice again:

Free safety Earl Thomas did not practice again on Wednesday for non-injury reasons. However, it appears the team is trying to get on the same page when it comes to Thomas' expected absences from practices moving into the future.

Carroll said Thomas wouldn't practice before the team's Wednesday workout.

"This is a day that Earl always gets a break," Carroll said.

It may not be a day Thomas always gets a break, but it is the day most veteran players that do get rest days tend to get off most often. Thomas has actually not taken Wednesday off frequently any time in the recent past with Seattle. Last week was one of the few occasions that has been the case.

Nevertheless, the furor around Thomas missing practice has seemingly died down. While the Seahawks don't seem to be thrilled with Thomas' stance, they appear to be willing to do what is needed to make it work.

"Sure, everyone needs to practice. We understand practice is the fabric of what we do," defensive coordinator Ken Norton said. "At the same time he's a veteran and you've got to protect your guys. I think we have a good plan for him right now."

Carroll had said there would be consequences for Thomas missing practice time, though he did not detail what those consequences would be. On Wednesday, he indicated they have worked out what they needed to to keep the relationship moving along.

"I'm really confident that Earl is ready to play really good football. He has done nothing but that," Carroll said. "We've worked together for a long time and we've worked through things and we've talked our way through where we are right now. I think the process is going to go really good. He feels great coming out of that game. We'll do what we do during the week in preparation and I'm hoping he can keep rolling. He's on fire and we want to keep it going."

"Everything is taking place. We're not really sharing it with you but it's going fine."

Injury Report:

Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 31: Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks brings in a 29 yard pass from Russell Wilson #3 against cornerback Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on December 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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