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Updated Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Seahawks back to work rested, healthy

By Danny O'Neil
Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Hope floats.

At least it did at the Seahawks' headquarters on Monday, players returning from a week off to a region in the midst of a downpour but a season buoyed by playoff possibilities.

"It was fun to be back," coach Pete Carroll said. "These guys, I think, really appreciated the break. They're fired up about our prospects of doing something good here."

The Seahawks are also extraordinarily healthy, with only three players on injured reserve. Of those three, only receiver Ben Obomanu was lost to injury after the regular season began. A year ago, Seattle placed eight players on injured reserve during the first 10 regular-season games.

On Monday, all but one of Seattle's 53 players practiced. Guard James Carpenter watched in sweats after undergoing more tests to determine if he would be cleared to return from a concussion that kept him out of the past two games.

"We'll find out Wednesday if he's clear to go," Carroll said.

Linebacker K.J. Wright is back from the concussion that kept him out of Seattle's game against the New York Jets. Also back were defensive linemen Clinton McDonald (groin) and Greg Scruggs (oblique), who were inactive against the Jets.

"We're very fortunate to be this healthy at this point," Carroll said.

The Seahawks were one of the last four teams in the NFL to get a week off, their bye coming later than it had in any season since 2000. Players reported back to the team's headquarters at noon Monday and took the field to practice at 2 p.m., followed by a team meeting.

"They came back with a lot of energy," Carroll said. "They feel really like you'd expected. You could tell. You could tell just by the way they ran around today that they had a lot of spring in their step."

Seattle is 6-4, tied for the second-best record among any NFC team not leading its division. Minnesota is 6-4, too, but the Seahawks beat the Vikings. Tampa Bay is 6-4 as well, but the Seahawks have a better conference record.

That means if the season ended now, Seattle would be in the playoffs. Except it doesn't end right now. It continues with two straight road games for a Seahawks team that is a perfect 5-0 at home, but just 1-4 on the road.

Seattle plays at Miami on Sunday, then at Chicago the next week before playing three of the final four games at home in a season where everything is still possible for Seattle, but nothing is guaranteed.

"I like where we're sitting," receiver Golden Tate said. "I think we're still growing, but I think we've figured out a lot of things. We know how to win. It's still a challenge to play on the road. We plan on fixing it the next two weeks. If we can accomplish that — winning on the road, executing on the road — I think we'll be real dangerous."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.

Sunday

Seahawks @ Miami,

10 a.m., Ch. 13


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