The Seattle Seahawks are a little healthier than it appeared at the beginning of the week heading to Dallas for its NFC wild-card game against the Cowboys.
Seattle wrapped up practices at home on Thursday with the news that starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin is expected to be available against the Cowboys, while starting guard J.R. Sweezy will be a game-time decision.
Only two players landed on Seattle's final injury report — fullback Tre Madden is doubtful, and Sweezy is questionable — a drastic improvement from the beginning of the week that saw seven players sit out practice on Tuesday due to a variety of injuries.
"We made it through the week and we're feeling pretty good about that. It just helps everybody feel good and excited about moving forward," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Griffin was the biggest unknown as the week progressed after suffering an ankle injury suffered in the first half of Seattle's Week 17 win over Arizona. After not practicing the first two days this week, Griffin was a full participant on Thursday and absent from Seattle's final injury report.
With Griffin appearing to be ready to play, the focus will turn to Sweezy and if Seattle's offensive line can be entirely intact. Sweezy suffered a sprained foot in the first half of Week 16 against Kansas City. Carroll has described the injury as being a three to four week recovery, but said Sweezy feels confident he'll be able to play against the Cowboys.
"He's got to run and stay in control of all of the movements he's got to do and feel OK about it, and then we've got to sense his confidence that he feels good about it," Carroll said. "He's telling us everything like he would. He's got to show us."
If Sweezy can't go, Seattle would start Ethan Pocic for a third straight game at guard. Pocic started Week 16 against Kansas City at right guard after Jordan Simmons suffered a season-ending knee injury, but switched to left guard after Sweezy was hurt. Pocic started last week against Arizona at left guard, but Seattle's reshuffled line struggled against the Cardinals, allowing six sacks.
Whether Sweezy plays or not, Seattle's offensive line will have D.J. Fluker back at right guard, allowing Germain Ifedi to slide back to right tackle after playing guard last week. George Fant will return to his role as an extra offensive lineman used in certain formations.
Sweezy would also become the latest Seattle player not to participate in practice during the week but be able to play on the weekend. Fluker, Jarran Reed and Bradley McDougald are among those that have done that in recent weeks.
"The challenge is to stay with it all the way throughout and not be distracted by the rehab and the concerns and the wonder of whether you're going to make it or not," Carroll said.